THE LAST GENERAL ARGUMENT.
Arg. 16. Our next argument is taken from some particular places of Scripture, clearly and distinctly in themselves holding out the truth of what we do affirm. Out of the great number of them I shall take a few to insist upon, and therewith to close our arguments.
1. The first that I shall begin withal is the first mentioning of Jesus Christ, and the first revelation of the mind of God concerning a discrimination between the people of Christ and his enemies: Genesis 3:15,
I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed,
By the seed of the woman is meant the whole body of the elect, Christ in the first place as the head, and all the rest as his members; by the seed of the serpent, the devil, with all the whole multitude of reprobates, making up the malignant state, in opposition to the kingdom and body of Jesus Christ.
That by the first part, or the seed of the woman, is meant Christ with all the elect, is most apparent; for they in whom an the things that are here foretold of the seed of the woman do concur, are the seed of the woman (for the properties of any thing do prove the thing itself.) But now in the elect, believers in and through Christ, are to be found all the properties of the seed of the woman; for, for them, in them, and by them, is the head of the serpent broken, and Satan trodden down under their feet, and the devil disappointed in his temptations, and the devils agents frustrated in their undertakings. Principally and especially, this is spoken of Christ himself, collectively of his whole body, which beareth a continual hatred to the serpent and his seed.
Secondly, By the seed of the serpent is meant all the reprobate, men of the world, impenitent, unbelievers. For,
First, The enmity of the serpent lives and exerciseth itself in them. They hate and oppose the seed of the woman; they have a perpetual enmity with it; and every thing that is said of the seed of the serpent belongs properly to them.
Secondly, They are often so called in the Scripture: Matthew 3:7, O generation of vipers, or seed of the serpent; so also Matthew 23:33. So Christ telleth the reprobate Pharisees, Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do, John 8:44. So again, Child of the devil, Acts 13:10, that is, the seed of the serpent; for he that committeth sin is of the devil, 1 John 3:8.
These things being undeniable, we thus proceed: Christ died for no more than God promised unto him that be should die for. But God did not promise him to all, as that he should die for them; for he did not promise the seed of the woman to the seed of the serpent, Christ to reprobates, but in the first word of him he promiseth an enmity against them. In sum, the seed of the woman died not for the seed of the serpent.
2. Matthew 7:23, I will profess unto them, I never knew you Christ at the last day professeth to some he never knew them. Christ saith directly that he knoweth his own, whom he layeth down his life for, John 10:14-17. And surely he knows whom and what he hath bought. Were it not strange that Christ should die for them, and buy them that he will not own, but profess he never knew them? If they are bought with a price, surely they are his own? 1 Corinthians 6:20. If Christ did so buy them, and lay out the price of his precious blood for them, and then at last deny that he ever knew them, might they not well reply, Ah, Lord! was not thy soul heavy unto death for our sakes? Didst thou not for us undergo that wrath that made thee sweat drops of blood? Didst thou not bathe thyself in thine own blood, that our blood might be spared? Didst thou not sanctify thyself to be an offering for us as well as for any of thy apostles? Was not thy precious blood, by stripes, by sweat, by nails, by thorns, by spear, poured out for us? Didst thou not remember us when thou hungest upon the cross? And now dost thou say, thou never knewest us? Good Lord, though we be unworthy sinners, yet thine own blood hath not deserved to be despised. Why is it that none can lay any thing to the charge of Gods elect? Is it not because thou diets for them? And didst thou not do the same for us? Why, then, are we thus charged, thus rejected? Could not thy blood satisfy thy Father, but we ourselves must be punished? Could not justice content itself with that sacrifice, but we must now hear, Depart, I never knew you? What can be answered to this plea, upon the granting of the general ransom, I know not.
3. Matthew 11:25, 26,
I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.
Those men from whom God in his sovereignty, as Lord of heaven and earth, of his own good pleasure, hideth the gospel, either in respect of the outward preaching of it, or the inward revelation of the power of it in their hearts, those certainly Christ died not for; for to what end should the Father send his only Son to die for the redemption of those whom he, for his own good pleasure, had determined should be everlasting strangers from it, and never so much as hear of it in the power thereof revealed to them? Now, that such there are our Savior here affirms; and he thanks his Father for that dispensation at which so many do at this day repine.
4. John 10:11, 15, 16, 27, 28. This clear place, which of itself is sufficient to evert the general ransom, hath been a little considered before, and, therefore, I shall pass it over the more briefly. First, That all men are not the sheep of Christ is most apparent; for, First, He himself saith so, John 10:26, Ye are not of my sheep. Secondly, The distinction at the last day will make it evident, when the sheep and the goats shall be separated. Thirdly, The properties of the sheep are, that they hear the voice of Christ, that they know him; and the like are not in all. Secondly, That the sheep here mentioned are all his elect, as well those that were to be called as those that were then already called.
John 10:16, Some were not as yet of his fold of called ones; so that they are sheep by election, and not believing. Thirdly, That Christ so says that he laid down his life for his sheep, that plainly he excludes all others; for, First, He lays down his life for them as sheep. Now, that which belongs to them as such belong only to such. If he lays down his life for sheep, as sheep, certainly be doth it not for goats, and wolves, and dogs. Secondly, He lays down his life as a shepherd, John 11:11; therefore, for them as the sheep. What hath the shepherd to do with the wolves, unless it be to destroy them? Thirdly, Dividing all into sheep and others, John 10:26, he saith he lays down his life for his sheep; which is all one as if he had said he did it for them only.
Fourthly, He describes them for whom he died by this, My Father gave them me, John 10:29; as also John 17:6, Thine they were, and thou gavest them me: which are not all; for all that the Father giveth him shall come to him, John 6:37, and he giveth unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, John 10:28. Let but the sheep of Christ keep close to this evidence, and all the world shall never deprive them of their inheritance. Farther to confirm this place, add Matthew 20:28; John 11:52.
5. Romans 8:32-34. The intention of the apostle in this place is, to hold out consolation to believers in affliction or under any distress; which he doth, Romans 8:31, in general, from the assurance of the presence of God with them, and his assistance at all times, enough to conquer all oppositions, and to make all difficulty indeed contemptible, by the assurance of his loving kindness, which is better than life itself. If God be for us, who can be against us? To manifest this his presence and kindness, the apostle minds them of that most excellent, transcendent, and singular act of love towards them, in sending his Son to die for them, not sparing him, but requiring their debt at his hand; whereupon he argues from the greater to the less, that if he have done that for us, surely he will do everything else that shall be requisite. If he did the greater, will he not do the less? If he give his Son to death, will he not also freely give us all things? Whence we may observe, First, That the greatest and most eximious expression of the love of God towards believers is in sending his Son to die for them, not sparing him for their sake; this is made the chief of all. Now, if God sent his Son to die for all, he had [done] as great an act of love, and hath made as great a manifestation of it, to them that perish as to those that are saved. Secondly, That for whomsoever he hath given and not spared his Son, unto them he will assuredly freely give all things; but now he doth not give all things that are good for them unto all, as faith, grace, and glory: from whence we conclude that Christ died not for all.
Again, Romans 8:33, he gives us a description of those that have a share in the consolation here intended, for whom God gave his Son, to whom he freely gives all things; and that is, that they are his elect, not all, but only those whom he hath chosen before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy; which gives another confirmation of the restraint of the death of Christ to them alone: which he yet farther confirms, Romans 8:34, by declaring that those of whom he speaks shall be freely justified and freed from condemnation; whereof he gives two reasons, first, Because Christ died for them; secondly, Because he is risen, and makes intercession for them for whom he died: affording us two invincible arguments to the business in hand. The first, taken from the infallible effects of the death of Christ: Who shall lay anything to their charge? who shall condemn them? Why, what reason is given? It is Christ that died. So that his death doth infallibly free all them from condemnation for whom he died. The second, from the connection that the apostle here makes between the death and intercession of Jesus Christ: For whom he died, for them he makes intercession; but he saveth to the utmost them for whom he intercedeth, Hebrews 7:25. From all which it is undeniably apparent that the death of Christ, with the fruits and benefits thereof, belongeth only to the elect of God.
6. Ephesians 1:7, In whom we have redemption. If his blood was shed for all, then all must have a share in those things that are to be had in his blood. Now, amongst these is that redemption that consists in the forgiveness of sins; which certainly all have not, for they that have are blessed, Romans 4:7, and shall be blessed forevermore: which blessing comes not upon all, but upon the seed of righteous Abraham, Romans 4:16.
7. 2 Corinthians 5:21, He hath made him to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. It was in his death that Christ was made sin, or an offering for it. Now, for whomsoever he was made sin, they are made the righteousness of God in him: By his stripes we are healed, Isaiah 53:5; John 15:13,
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Then, to intercede is not of greater love than to die, nor anything else that he doth for his elect. If, then, he laid down his life for all, which is the greatest, why doth he not also the rest for them, and save them to the uttermost?
8. John 17:9,
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
And John 17:19, For their sakes I sanctify myself.
9. Ephesians 5:25, Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; as [also] Acts 20:28. The object of Christs love and his death is here asserted to be his bride, his church; and that as properly as a mans own wife is the only allowed object of his conjugal affections. And if Christ had a love to others so as to die for them, then is there in the exhortation a latitude left unto men, in conjugal affections, for other women besides their wives.
I thought to have added other arguments, as intending a clear discussing of the whole controversy; but, upon a review of what hath been said, I do with confidence take up and conclude that those which have been already urged will be enough to satisfy them who will be satisfied with anything, and those that are obstinate will not be satisfied with more. So of our arguments here shall be an end.