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The Scriptures plainly teach, that though Christ has made a full and complete atonement for sin, yet the salvation of sinners is entirely of grace. “By grace ye are saved.” Eph. 2 : 5. Many, however, have found it difficult to treat the subject as though these doctrines were reconcilable, the one with the other. But this difficulty has probably arisen from mistaken views of the nature of the atonement which Christ has made. Understanding the atonement to be, literally, a purchase, or the payment of a debt, some have inferred from it, that, since Christ is represented as a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, all men must be saved; others, that, inasmuch as it is evident that all will not be saved, the atonement could not be made for all; and others, again, that, if sinners are saved on account of the atonement, their pardon and salvation cannot be of grace.

These conclusions are much more consistent with the premises, from which they are respectively drawn, than either the premises or conclusions are with the truth. For, if the atonement did consist in the payment of a debt literally, it seems very obvious that there could not be any grace exercised in the acquittal of sinners, and that atonement and actual salvation, must be co-extensive. If Christ has really paid the debt of sinners, they, of course, must be free. Justice must be satisfied, and can make no further demand. On this ground it must, indeed, follow, that if Christ died for all, then all will be saved; and that if all are not saved, then he could not have died for all. And it equally follows, that none can be saved by grace. Their debt being paid, it cannot be forgiven.

Since, therefore, the Scriptures represent the pardon and salvation of sinners as being wholly of grace, we may be certain that the atonement cannot be the payment of a debt, nor, strictly, of the nature of a purchase. This, too, it is apprehended, has already been made evident, in what has been shown concerning the necessity and nature of atonement. But since many, at the present day, have adopted this scheme of the atonement, and have deduced sentiments from it which are of the most dangerous tendency, it may not be improper to examine, a little more directly, the reasoning by which they endeavor to make their scheme consistent with the exercise of grace, in the actual bestowment of pardon and salvation.

The Scriptures are so very explicit and particular, respecting the terms of pardon and justification, that few believers in divine revelation can be found, who do not appear anxious to have it understood that, in some way or other, they hold the doctrines of grace. It has been said by some, that though atonement be the payment of a debt, yet the pardon of a sinner may be called an act of grace, because it is founded in other acts, which certainly are acts of grace. God’s giving his Son to make atonement, and his actually making it, are acts of grace. And since the pardon of sinners has its foundation on these gracious acts, it may be called an act of grace itself. But this is, certainly, strange reasoning. To say that pardon is an act of grace, only because it is grounded on other acts which are gracious, is nothing less than to say, that it is an act of grace, though it is not an act of grace.

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Prop. 2: Christ’s sufferings for men’s Sins, were not the Idem, the same thing which the Law threaten to us: Or the fulfilling of the threatening; and discharge of the debt itself in kind. But the Equivalence, or Value, freely paid by him (obliged only by his own sponsion,) and accepted by God, for our not fulfilling the Law, as to its Precept and Commination.

Some this question, whether Christ paid the Idem or Tantundem? To be not Tantidem, not worth the disputing. Mr O[wen], (against me) seems stiffly to main it to be the Idem, but yielding it to be not per eundem, and the law to be relaxed so far, does yield as much as I need, and gives up the whole cause; and made me think it a useless labor to reply to him. As small as this question seems, I think the main body of divinity stands or falls according to the resolution of it. For understanding the meaning of it, you must know, 1. that it is not the quality of the suffering that we enquire: Whether Christ suffered the same kind of pain, or loss that we should have suffered? Nor of the quantity of torment, for intension or duration? For I am willing to believe as much as identity in these as I can see any ground of probability to encourage me: Though yet I know how hard it is, for them that say, by [death]1 in the threatening, was meant, death, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, to prove that the loss of God’s image was none of the penalty; (for I hope none will say, that Christ lost God’s image) or that Christ’s temporary sufferings, were the Idem with our eternal, quaod quantitatem; and not the want of duration made up by the intension, or dignity, or the person, as being equivalent: (which is our ordinary doctrine, and I think sound): Or yet that the eternity of the punishment was not in the threatening, but was accidental: Either as, some Schoolmen think, for want of power to deliver or overcome; or as others (and with them Parker and Sanford, I think, not soundly), because of the everlastingness of sinning. I think none of these much worth the disputing, comparatively: Nor 2. Is it de personâ naturali, who he was naturally that paid the debt, or made the satisfaction. It is not therefore de materia debiti, that we enquire, but de formâ: Whether it were the same formally which we owed, and the obligation required? Or only the value, and not the same full debt? Also you must know that, though we may well use the word [debt] in this Case, because the Scripture does, yet we must acknowledge it but a metaphor, and the proper terms are, whether Christ’s sufferings were the same thing that the lw in its threatening required, i.e., obliged unto, and made due? And so a fulfilling of that threatening? And this with great averseness I deny. The question is determined on the determination of the former, having necessary dependence on it, and being tantum non in sense the same. And therefore all the arguments which I used for the former will serve to this; and therefore I need not repeat any of them, but refer you to them, desiring you to peruse them and apply them to this; for all the same absurdities (or near all) do follow upon this as on the other. Indeed there two together (that Christ paid the Idem, the debt it self and not the value, by personating us in his sufferings, so that in law sense, we satisfied in him) are the very foundation of the whole frame of that religion commonly called Antinomian, but much more fitly Anti-evangelical. To touch again on some few. It is evident that this doctrine utterly destroys all possibility of pardon of sin, and consequently all repenting and believing, praying for pardon, all thankfulness for it, all Testamental or Evangelical conveyance of it by the promise, all Gospel and ministerial tenders of pardon; all sacramental exhibition and obsignation of pardon; and a Christians enquiries, examination, and seekings after pardon, and his comforts living or dying in assurance of pardon; and instead of all, asserts us to righteous, that we need no pardon. You will sure confess, that if this will follow, then almost all religion is overthrown at a blow. And that it follows, seems to me past doubt. For what can any law in the world require or any lawgiver, in exact justice, but that the law be perfectly fulfilled? What can any creditor require, but the Idem, the very debt it self which the obligation did contain? Can he have all his debt, and remit it too? Is the obligation fulfilled, and remitted or relaxed too? Does the Judge execute all the penalty; and yet forgive it? Is not he unjust that denies him an acquittance and the cancelling of the obligation, who hath fully paid him all his due? If any shall conceive, with the Socinians, that the same inconveniences will follow, upon the asserting of Christ’s full satisfaction for us, I answer, Not one of them: Nay there is no way, I think, but this that I now maintain to confute a Socinian, and defend Christ’s satisfaction. Were it well used, it is a key into a great part of the Body of Divinity, and helps to resolve solidly and satisfactorily a multitude of difficult objections, which without this admit not of solution (though Mr. O. call it my progon pheudos ) The Idem, or full debt or suffering, is solutio non recusabilis the value in another kind or way, is solutio recusabilis, (stricte dicta satisfactio) more plainly, the proper penalty, which is supplicum delinquentis, is all that can be required to satisfy the Legislator or Law: But that an innocent person should suffer for our sins, is quid Recusabile; the Legislator may refuse it. If therefore we had paid the Idem, the very debt we had been acquitted or to be acquitted ipso facto, as presently righteous, without remission; but when another pays it (even the Son of the Law-giver sent by his own love and mercy, who is nearer him then us ) there two things follow, 1. That the supreme Rector may accept it on what terms he please, or nor accept it: And that accordingly God did accept it on terms most fitted to his blessed ends in governing the world: Among others, that man should have the special benefits of this satisfaction conveyed to them only in a legal way, in time; on such and such terms or conditions as he saw meet, and as is expressed in the tenor of the Covenant of Grace.2 &c. Nay it was the desire of Christ the satisfier, that these benefits should only thus be conveyed to the Redeemer: That so though the impetration were wholly by him, and absolutely wrought, yet the Application might be in part by themselves and conditional; and the mercy might not cross Gods ends by making them independent and secure, but might further his ends, in drawing them to him, and engaging them to repent, believe, seek, strive, fear, care, &c. If the Idem, were paid, that is, the delinquent himself had suffered, there had needed no New Covenant,3 to apply the Benefits, or convey them: But now there doth.

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William Barlee on General Love

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism


Secondly. As the former author of God’s love to mankind, upholds in his title, an odious suggestion against the adversaries to his book, as if they maintained, God, not at all to be a lover of all mankind in the sense spoken of Matt. 5:45, Act. 14:16-17, and 17:27-28, 1 Tim. 4:10, because they do not maintain him to be a lover of all alike, so the saving graces, flowing from election. . . .

William Barlee, A Necessary Vindication of the Doctrine of Predestination (London: Printed for George Sawbridge, at the Bible on Ludgate-Hill, 1658), 2. [Some reformatting; marginal Latin not included; and underlining mine.]


He is Risen

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism

He is risen!

Part 1:

Here is how I interpret these phrases:

1) All men without distinction to me means:

All men without this or that distinction.

So an instance of this might be,

All men [without distinction] who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved…

Here there is no ethnic/racial distinction, all–without this exception–who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

I can also say that all men without distinction means all men apart from a number of distinctions, gender, race, age, employment, status, etc.

And here the “all without exception” comes into play, in this way: Without any racial/ethnic exception, all men who call upon the name of the Lord, will be saved. This is clearly how Paul uses this in critical passages in Romans.

The controller is: The distinction(s) being negated has to be supplied by the context; and the scope of the “all” is defined by context as well.

2) All men without exception

I take that to be just as fluid.

It can mean all men without absolutely any distinction or exception whatsoever. I don’t think anyone uses it to denote that, or if they do, very rarely.

It can mean all who have lived, lived, will live.

But then too, this can also he true for all without distinction: Eg: All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved: this applied to those who are now dead, it applies to the living, and it shall apply to those who shall live.

The controller is: The exception(s) being negated has to be supplied by the context; and the scope of the “all” is defined by context as well.

3) The two terms for me are not discrete and compartimentally segregated into opposite water-tight containers. That so many so over-play this artificial distinction is unhelpful and at times just blinds the investigator to tacit assumptions that distort the true picture of a given at hand verse.

4) Classically, for a few writers, they will use all without exception and distinction interchangeably. Or they will use other terms like all without discrimination, and then it becomes trickier to work out what they mean.

5) The problem is, most high or hyper Calvinists are not using “all without distinction” in its original form, but it has been transmuted into something else.

6) I think Spurgeon’s moment of insight in his blasting and exploding Gill’s exegesis of 1 Tim 2:4 should be a must read.

Part 2:

Let’s say we have the comment:

“I love all kinds of corn chips.”

On the surface my above question may seem silly. But here is why I would argue it was not, so hold that thought.

A few weeks ago I asked a friend what does “all without distinction” mean?

One answer I have seen a few times is that it means this: “all kinds of men.”

What this entails then is that when “all without distinction” is applied to 1 Tim 2:4 it means, precisely, that God wills the salvation of all kinds of men.

So let us run with this and see where it takes us.

Back to my corn chips. “I love all kinds of corn chips.” What does that mean? It means I love all kinds of flavors, brands, colors, shapes, sizes, and so forth. But at no point can it be a statement about any particular corn chip of any kind.

Here is my basic problem. What I want to argue is that for the High Calvinist reading, “all” becomes “some” and that the way this is done is self-deceptive.

We have a phrase, “all men

All is the modifier, and it modifies “men”.

Then we have the often alleged “rule” that here all men must mean all without distinction. Okay, so lets apply this “rule”.

All men becomes: “All men without distinction.”

If we ask what “all men without distinction” means, we are told it means all kinds of men.

So now “all men” becomes “all kinds of men.”

But now, note the modifier does not modify the noun. Now it modifies the term “kinds”.

Yet no High Calvinist can really seriously say that Paul is commanding us to pray for kinds of men. Rather he wants us to pray for concrete particulars, such that no concrete particular is to be excluded from our prayers (Calvin). Paul has actual people in mind, either as subjects of our prayers, or objects of the will of God.

So almost immediately we are brought down from the forms and abstractions to the concrete and the particular.

So “all kinds of men” becomes “some men of all kinds” (Owen). [It must become some men of all kinds, because the very intent of the High Calvinist is to preclude the idea that Paul has “all men of every kind” in view here.]

So now, all men becomes some men of all kinds (particular men of all kinds).

Thus: All becomes Some.

The modifier “all” now becomes “some” in order to truly modify “men”.

I think this strategy is quite deceptive.

But obviously this entire strategy seems quite artificial and counter-intuitive to some of us.

And I have demonstrated above that “all without distinction” properly meant all men without this or that distinction or exception, which is clearly the original biblical intent.