1) But while I have no idea that they intend to be satisfied with anything that I can say, I will repeat in another form, what my opinion is, so that no fair mind will be any longer misled to suspect me of ambiguity. I am asked whether I believe that “Christ bore the guilt of his elect only.” I reply, Christ designed by his sufferings to deliver the elect only from their guilt. In that sense he “bore” the guilt of the elect only. But if they wish to make me say that Christ had no more to do with the guilt of the non-elect than of the fallen angels, I shall not say it. For Christ’s work has actually procured for them great temporary benefits, which their guilt would personally have made them unworthy to enjoya suspension of just doom, social, material good, common operations of H(oly) G(host) and an offer of salv.(ation) from God, who is “serious.” Had there been no mediatorial dispensation, the doom would doubtless have followed immediately on the guilt, as in the case of fallen angels. I must believe, therefore, that, (with Hodge) there is a relation which the sufferings of Christ had to all men."56 Cited by, Morton Howison Smith, Studies in Southern Presbyterian Theology (Amsterdam: Campen, `962), 201. [Some minor reformatting; footnote content and value original; italics original; parenthetical inserts Morton Smith’s; and underlining mine.] [Credit to Michael Lynch for this find.]

2) There is no safer clue for the student through this perplexed subject, than, to take this proposition; which, to every Calvinist, is nearly as indisputable as a truism; Christ’s design in His vicarious work was to effectuate exactly what it does effectuate, and all that it effectuates, in its subsequent proclamation. This is but saying that Christ’s purpose is unchangeable and omnipotent. Now, what does it actually effectuate? “We know only in part,” but so much is certain.

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The Stafforts Book (1599):

Thus we now, with the full witness of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments and also of the teaching of the Christian church, confess that after the grievous fall of our first parents, man can do nothing at all for his own salvation or conversion, or of his own ability help or cooperate therein. Instead, God alone creates in us a new heart; in the place of our heart that is made a heart of stone by sin, [He] must give us a heart of flesh (Ezek. 36:27). Now we must note the specific means that God uses in our conversion, namely the preaching of the merits of the Lord Christ and the holy, most worthy sacraments, which are the seals and gracious signs, and which are appended to the comforting preaching of de Merito Christi (the merits of Christ). In connection with the teaching of the merits of Christ, this disruptive question of our day intrudes itself into the Protestant churches: whether Christ has died for the sins of the entire world or for the sins of a few, that is, for those who believe! And although this question has its clear explanation in God’s Holy Scriptures, so that man ought not eagerly to rush into self-willed wrangling over a matter in which there should be no strife, nevertheless in order to make Our simple meaning plain, we confess that when one considers the merit of Christ in its worth, power, and complete ability (as Augustine states), the greatness, power, and worth of Christ’s merit is more than sufficiently powerful and precious to take away, redeem, and propitiate not only the sins of the whole world, but rather, the whole world even if the world were much larger than it is. . . .

Now as the Lord Christ says in John 3:18 and 36, “He who believes On the Son has eternal life. He who does not believe on the Son will not see life. Rather, the wrath of God remains on him.” We understand that this heavenly cure, this overwhelmingly precious and all-sufficient medication for sin, in whatever manner it may show its power and effectiveness in us, requires faith. . . .

Because, as has now been shown, only those are redeemed from eternal death by the death of Christ, are reconciled with God, are justified from sins, and are saved, who have received from the holy gospel the death of Christ and his merit through faith, and who Consecrate themselves to Him, so it cannot be otherwise taught (when one considers the meritum Christi quod efficaciam [the merit of Christ regarding its efficacy] and all that it so powerfully accomplishes), than that Christ died only for believers and not for all men in general. For the unbelievers, as long as they remain in unbelief, do not receive any benefit from the merit of Christ. And this is consistent with Holy Scripture. . . .

“The Stafforts Book (1599)” in, Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation, ed., James T. Dennison, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012), 3:768. [Some minor reformatting; italics original; bracketed inserts original; and underlining mine.]

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3. In that they say: For whom Christ died, for them he made full satisfaction for their sins, as the Apostle shows, “in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace” [Ephes. 1:7, Coloss. 1:14.]. But Christ made not any satisfaction for the sins of the reprobate, for if he had, then God in justice could not punish them for those sins for which Christ had fully satisfied, therefore, it cannot be that Christ died for reprobates.

The wicked
condemned for
not applying
the merits
of Christ.

I answer: that Christ made sufficient satisfaction for the sins of the reprobates, and yet God in his justice may punish them, for want of application of the merits of Christ: for as the patient may well perish though the physic be made for him, if he does not receive & apply the same unto himself. As S. Augustine shows, that we were all sick of sin, and the heavenly Physician descended unto us, and brought us heavenly physic, imo phamaca benedicta, even the most blessed medicines: yet, merito perijt agrotus, the sick man may well perish, if he does not receive and apply this heavenly physic unto himself, even so though Christ died for them, and made satisfaction for their sins, yet they be most justly condemned, for not receiving and applying the same unto themselves, but to suffer το λυδον υαγα,1 this great price, to be ineffectual unto them.

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Gryffith Williams (1589?-1672) on John 17:9

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in John 17:9


1. In that they say, for whom Christ died, for them he intercedes and prays, and for whom he prays not, for them he died not; for none would offer the sacrifice of his body for them, for whom he would not offer the sacrifice of his lips: but for the wicked and reprobates he prays not, “I pray not for the world,” Joh. 17:9, therefore, for the wicked reprobates he died not.

I answer: that for whom he died with a special intent to work the effectual application of his death, thereby to save them, for them he prayed, that so, his death might effectual for them, &., contra for whom he prayed not, I confess he died not with an intent to work the effectual application of his death, thereby to save them, but only to procure them a sufficient remedy to be saved, if they would, thereby to show his love, in giving this remedy, and to make them without excuse for neglecting the same.

Gryffith Williams, The Delights of the Saints (London: Printed for Nathaniel Butter, and are to be sold at the signe of the pide Bull neere Saint Austins gate, 1622), 37. [Italics original and underlining mine.]

[Credit to Tony for the find.]


B.H. Carroll (1843-1914) on Ezekiel 33:10-11

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11



Son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our
transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how
should we then live? Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no
pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live:
turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, Oh house of Israel?
Ezek. 33:10, 11.

Our text alludes to the preceding fact, that the prophet by Divine commandment had denounced a judgment on Israel. That judgment had declared that their sins were on them, that they would pine away under their sins, and they would die in their sins. To which denunciation the people, in the first part of our text, reply: "If our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?" The reply is first an expression of despair and helplessness. But it is more. It charges God with the helplessness and despair of their situation, and justifies themselves. It is as if they had said: "You denounce judgment on us. You say that our sins are on us. You declare that we will pine away and die in them. Then how can you blame us for not living? Who hath resisted your will? We are powerless to help ourselves! Our death is by God’s imperious, irresistible decree. It is his pleasure that we should die and we cannot help ourselves." To this charge, making God responsible for their death, the second part of our text replies: "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked," etc.

The text develops an old-time controversy between God and the sinner, the sinner claiming to be more just than God, the sinner pleading his helplessness and justifying his death by imputing the responsibility and blame to the Almighty. It is a trick of the devil to put God in fault, to lead the sinner to self-pity, to make him a martyr and God a persecutor.

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