The Suffrage concerning the second Article


Out of an especiall love and intention both of God the Father, and of Christ himselfe, Christ dyed for the Elect, that hee might [p. 44] effectually obtaine for them, and infallibly bestow on them both remission of sinnes, and salvation.

This first proposition declareth, that the Elect shall without faile have remission of sinnes, and eternall life by the death of Christ, and that out of the especiall love and intention of God the Father, and Christ. This is proved out of the holy Scriptures, which doe shew forth the efficacie of the death of the Sonne of God in respect of the Elect, John 11. 51. Jesus must dye for the Nation, and not onely for that Nation, but that hee might gather into one the sonne of God, which were dispersed, Ephes. 5. 25. God loved the Church, and gave himselfe for it, that he might sanctifie it, &c. In which words is declared the intention of Christ offering himselfe, as the same offering concemeth the infallible bestowing of salvation, [p. 45]


Out of the selfe same love by and for the merit and intercession of Christ, faith, and perseverance, are given to the same Elect, yea and all other things, by which the condition of the covenant is fulfilled, and the promised benefit, namely, eternall life is obtained.

This position sheweth, that out of the death and intercession of Christ, those gifts of grace doe flow to the Elect, by which they are effectually brought to life eternall. Rom. 8. 32. 33. 39.27 Hee that spared not his owne Sonne, how shall he not even with him give us all things? Heb. 8. 10. I will give my lawes into their mindes, and in their hearts I will write them. For that grace, which is given unto the Elect for the death of Christ, is the grace of effectuall reemption. Now wee understand by the grace of redemption, not such a grace, by which men may bee redeemed, if they will, [p. 46] but by which they are in event mercifully redeemed, because God so willeth.


God taking pitie on mankinde being falne, sent his Son, who gave himself a ransome for the sins of the whole world.

In this oblation of Christ we consider two things: the manner of calling of men to the actuall participation of this sacrifice, and the benefit divers wayes redounding unto men by the same sacrifice.

As for the manner, there is no mortall man, who cannot truly and seriously bee called by the Ministers of the Gospell to the participation of remission of sinnes, and eternall life by this death of Christ. Acts 13. 33.28 39. Bee it knowne unto you that remission of sinnes is preached by Christ. John 3. 17. He that beleeves not, is condemned, because he hath not beleeved in the Sonne of God. There is nothing false, nothing colourably fained in the Gospell, but whatsoever is offered or promised in it by the Ministers of the word, is after the same manner offered & [p. 47] promised unto them by the Author of the Gospell.

Touching the benefit by the death of Christ, in which is contained an infinite treasure of merits, and spirituall blessings, the actuall fruit doth redound to men after that manner, and that measure, and by the same meanes, as seemes good to God himselfe. Now it pleaseth God even after the acceptation of this sacrifice, no otherwise to bestow actually upon any man remission of sinnes and eternall life, then by faith in the same Redeemer. And here that same eternall and secret decree of Election shewes it selfe, in as much as that price was paid for all, and will certainly promote all beleevers unto eternall life, yet is not beneficiall unto all; because all have not the gift of fulfilling this condition of the gracious covenant. Christ therefore so dyed for all, that all and every one by the meanes of faith might obtaine remission of sins, and eternall life by vertue of that ransome paid once for all mankinde. But Christ so dyed for the elect, that by the merit of his death in speciall manner destinated unto them [p. 48] according to the eternall good pleasure of God, they might infallibly obtaine both faith and eternall life.


Upon this merit of Christ is founded that generall promise of the Gospell, according to which al[l] that beleeve in Christ may really attaine remission of sins, and eternall life.

That this promise is universall, and founded onely upon the death of Christ, it is evident out of the 10. of the Acts 43. To him give all the Prophets witnesse, that they shall receive remission of sinnes, by his name, as many as beleeve in him, &c. Rom. 3. 24. 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood. Therefore although this promise bee not divulged unto all in every time and place, yet it is of that nature, that it may be tmly published to all and every one: For the nature of the promise extends it selfe perpetually to mankinde, although the knowledge of the pro-[p. 49]mise according to the speciall providence of God, is published sometimes to these, sometimes to other Nations. Marke 16. 15. Goe into all the world, and preach the Gospell to every creature. He that beleeveth, &c.


In the Church, wherein according to the promise of the Gospel salvation is offered to all, there is such an administration of grace, as is sufficient to convince all impenitents and unbeleevers, that by their owne voluntary default, either through neglect or contempt of the Gospell, they perish, and come short of the benefit offered unto them.

Christ by his death not onely established the euangelicall covenant, but moreover obtained of his Father, that wheresoever this Covenant should bee published, there also, together with it, ordinarily such a measure of supematurall grace should bee dispensed, as [p. 50] may suffice to convince all impenitents and unbeleevers of contempt, or at least of neglect, in that the condition was not fulfilled by them.

Here two things are briefly to bee explained. Whereof the first we put downe for a supposition: That some measure of grace is ordinarily offered by the Ministerie of the Gospell.

The second for a position: That that grace is sufficient to convince all impenitents and incredulous persons, either of contempt, or at least of neglect.

The first is plaine out of the Scriptures. Esay 59. and the last verse. This is my covenant with them, saith the Lord: My Spirit that is upon thee, and my word, which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out from thy mouth from henceforth, and for ever. Hence it is evident that the word and the Spirit are inseparably joyned together by the promise of God in the Ministery of the word.

Hence the Ministers of the new Testament are called the Ministers, not of the letter, but of the spirit, not of the killing letter, but of the [p. 51] spirit that giveth life. 2 Cor. 3. 6. The ministery of the Gospell. v. 8. is called diakonia tou pneumatos: The ministration of the Spirit. Hence is the Gospell styled, Tit. 2. 11. charis soterios;, saving grace, or the grace that bringeth salvation: and logon katalagges, 2. Cor. 5. 19. The word of reconciliation. And our Saviour, Luke 10. 9. 11. when he sent the 70. Disciples to preach the Gospell, commanded them, that they should say to the people, to whom they preached it, The kingdome of Heaven is come neare unto them. Because that some supernaturall grace is offered unto them, to whom the Gospell is preached.

It is not well said, that all those are not called to grace, to all whom the Gospell is preached, although there may be some, who obey not the Gospell [Prosp. ad cap. Gall, resp ad ob. 4 [PL 45, col. 1835: Prosper, Responsiones ad Capitula Objectionum Gallorum Calumniantium, responsio ad object. 4].].

The second is proved out of the 15 of John 22. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sinne, but now have they no cloake for their sinne. Out of this place it is certaine, that Christ in propounding the Gospell, did withall dispence that internall grace, which so far forth sufficed, that in that they accepted not, or rejected the Gospell, they might bee justly taxed of positive infidelity.29 John 3. 19. This is [p. 52] condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darknesse rather then light. So are men justly damned, because they tume away from the light of the Gospell. Heb. 2. 3. How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? For the neglect of salvation offered in the Gospell, we are subject to just punishment: therefore salvation is offered in the Gospell.

Heb. 4. 12. The Word of God is quicke and powerfull, and sharper then any two edged sword, piercing even to dividing asunder of soule and spirit, and of thejoynts and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hence it comes to be manifest that there is such power and efficacie of the word, that it insinuates it selfe even into the secretest closets of the soule, and as it doth without faile quicken those which truely beleeve, so it doth truely inflict a deadly wound upon the stubbome.

Lastly, the Scripture threatneth most bitter punishments to those, who doe not receive, who neglect, who despise, the preaching of the Gospell. Mat. 10. 14. Whosoever shall not heare your words, It shall be easier for Sodom. Heb. 6. A. It is impossible for those, who were once en-[p. 53]lightened and have tasted of the good gift of God, &.c. For the earth which drinketh in the raine, and yet beareth thornes, and bryars, is nigh unto cursing.


Notwithstanding this generall Covenant of saving those that beleeve, God is not tyed by any covenant or promise to afford the Gospel, or saving grace, to all and every one. But the reason why hee affords it to some, and passeth by others, is his owne mercie and absolute freedome.

1. Christ hath no otherwise established this covenant, then that the communication of this covenant shold remaine, in the free & full power of the Father. But God in giving one grace is not tyed to the giving of another. Matt. 10. 15.30 Is it not lawfullfor me to doe with my owne what I will?

No such covenant or promise is to be found in the Scriptures. God promiseth in the old [p. 54] Testament, that the preaching of the Gospell should be communicated to the Gentiles. In the new Testament the partition wall is broken downe, and it is given in charge to the Apostles, Marke 16. 15. Goe into all the world and preach the Gospell unto every creature: but God no where promised, that universally in the world, at one and the same time it should be preached.

Nay rather (as is well noted by Prosper ,)

Even at that very time, in which the preaching of the Gospell was sent to all Nations, hee, who would have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth, yet forbad the Apostles to goe to some places. And so by this stopping or delaying of the Gospel, many were so foreslowen, or hindred, that they dyed without the knowledge of the truth, and without sanctifying regeneration. Let the Scripture speak what was done.31 But passing through Phrygia, and the Region of Galatia, they are forbidden by the holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, but after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to goe into Bithynia, but the spirit suffered them not ; [Epistola ad Ruff. & de vocat. gent. lib. 2 cap 3 [PL 45, col. 1799: Prosper, De gratia et libero arbitrio, cap. 14 § 15 for the first phrase (‘Even… to all Nations’); there is a slightly similar passage to the second half in PL, lib. 2 cap. 3, but it is not very close].]

Thus farre Prosper.

2. Moreover, it is plainly evident (notwith-[p. 55]standing this universal Covenant, which was of force even in the old Testament) that God revealed not the knowledge hereof unto the Gentiles, Psal. 147. 8. 19. 20.32 Hee sheweth his word unto Jacob, he hath not dealt so with any Nation, and therefore they knew not these lawes. Acts 14. 16. God in times past suffered all Nations to walke in their owne wayes. Yea and in our daies scarce the sixt part of the habitable world have given their names to Christ. But if in fact and event God hath never vouchsafed the preaching of the Gospel to all and every one, certainly then hee is not bound so to afford it. For he doth, whatsoever he hath bound himselfe to doe.

The same is also to be said of saving grace. We no where in the Scriptures meet with any mention of any promise, by which God hath bound himselfe to impart this grace to all and every one. Nay rather the Scripture makes mention of Gods liberty in commiserating, Rom. 9. 18.33 God hath mercy on whom hee will have mercy, notwithstanding this covenant grounded in the blood of Christ, and although God doth blesse with many bene-[p. 56]fits all men, yea even the most ungratefull, which live without the lifts of the Church, and although all men (as being sinners) stand in need of saving graces, yet is hee obliged to none, either to bestow the one or the other.

3. Lastly, it is concluded out of the holy Scriptures, that some are iudged and condemned for sinnes committed onely against the law of nature, Rom. 2. 14. 15. Whereby is implyed, that upon invincible ignorance they are excused for not fulfillng the Law of faith. Which excuse can have no place, where God proclaimes his Law, and men are bound to obey.

ERRONEOUS OPINIONS rejected by us.


That Christs death being granted, God hath no other intention of saving any particular persons then conditionall, and suspended upon the contingent act of mans faith.

1. For the refuting this; sufficient grounds are laid by us in our former positions and reasons concerning the first Article, in which the election of particular persons [p. 57] is established, and incomplete Election confuted. Item, where the certaine meanes of salvation flowing from the decree of Election are set forth. Lastly, in this second Article, at the first and second Positions, where is proved, that Christ dyed with that intention, that hee might bestow speciall graces upon the elect.

2. All theologicall Arguments drawne from the Scriptures and analogy of faith, by which Christs incarnation, humiliation, and exaltation, are either proved or confirmed, do tend to the demonstration of Gods expresse intention, for a fmitfull effect of this so great a mystery, not producing it upon condition, (namely, if men would that this fmit might hence arise, when it was equally in their power to nill the same) but effecting it without faile, the power of God working it.

3. Moreover, the house of God being to be built ex hominibus, of men, hath not sufficient firmenesse and solidity, if it be built ab hominibus, by men: this fabricke must bee reared by Gods owne hand. Mat. 16. 18. Vpon this rock will I build my Church. 1 Cor. 3. 9. Yee are Gods [p. 58] husbandry, ye are Gods building. Ephes. 2. 20. Being built upon the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles, Christ himselfe being the chiefe corner stone: In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy Temple, &c. i. Therefore God building a Church for himselfe, doth with his owne hand prepare the stones, polish them, and cyment them: hee doth not expect that they should by hap hazard fit themselves, and joyne themselves to the foundation.

4. Upon no less certainty of a speciall decree, the salvation of the Church is fore-ordained to be effectually broght to pass by Christ, then that by which Christ himselfe is sent. The same voice of God which at first promised Christ to bee exhibited, doth also seale unto us by an absolute promise the effect thereof, without any condition. Gen. 3. 15. The seed of the woman shall breake the Serpents head. But the Serpent is not crushed, but by the certaine freeing of some [p. 59] men from the captivity of Satan, and transplantation into the kingdome of the Sonne of God. Esa. 53. 10. When thou shalt make his soule an offering for sinne, hee shall see his seed, hee shall prolong his dayes. Hebr. 2. 13. Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Therefore the decree of God, concerning the continuance of his seed to be adopted into the houshold of Christ, is inseparably knit to the decree of laying downe Christs soule for sinne: and unto Christ offering himselfe for a sacrifice children are given, not by or of themselves, but of God, who indeed gave Christ unto them.

5. If the fruit of Christs passion bee onely conditionall, then the benefit redounding from the second Adam is not more certaine then it had beene from the first Adam, for to him salvation was propounded under this condition (Doe this, and live,) which condition that he might perform if he would, ability was given him by God, yet not so that hee should without faile performe it actually. But in the new Testament, grace being obtained for us by the death of Christ, salvation is not onely offered unto us under a condition, be-[p. 60]leeve and thou shalt be saved) but God brings to passe by his holy Spirit, that we beleeve actually. Heb. 8. 6. He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. And what that promise is, it is evident, v. 10. I will put my lawes into their mindes, and write them in their hearts.


That it was the proper and entire end of Christs death, that he might purchase right and power unto God the Father, to save men upon what conditions he would.

1. If the death of Christ did purchase nothing else for us, then to open a meanes for the making of any new covenant with mankinde, then are we not freed from the yoake of the Law, because notwithstanding this, it shall bee free for God the Father, yea even after the payment and acceptation of this sacrifice, againe to impose upon us the condition of the Law. But Christ to take away the curse of the Law, was for us, that is, in our stead, and that once, made naxaqa, [p. 61] a curse, Gal, 3. 13. Therefore we cannot, in respect of the Law not performed by us, bee made againe guiltie of the Law, and deuterokatarata, the second time accursed.

2. Christ by his death hath merited for us the very reconciliation of our persons with God, yea and grace to be actually imparted to us, Joh. 1. 16. Of his fulnesse have all we received; Otherwise then the second Adam (being the Lord from Heaven) had bin lesse helpfull to his, then the first Adam (being from the earth earthly,) had beene harmefull to his, both in respect of imputation, if Christ had not undergone punishment for us, and also in respect of transfusion, if no propagating grace bee derived from Christ the head into his members.


That Christs death hath obtained for all men, restitution into the state of grace and salvation.

1. Salvation is a thing promised by the new covenant, neither is it promised, but upon the condition of faith. Whosoever beleeveth shall be saved. Since therefore all men [p. 62] have not faith in Christ, under which only condition salvation is promised, it is certaine that the death of Christ did not obtaine for all, but for the faithfull alone, a restoring into the state of grace and salvation, which is abundantly proved, by that of the Apostle, Rom. 5. 1. Being justified by faith we have peace with God. By peace in that place we understand our reconciliation with God, who were formerly enemies, and our restoring into the bosome of grace. This is also further enforced by those places, Rom. 3. 4. Gal. 2. 16. Which prove that we are justified by faith alone in Christ, that is, accounted by God for just persons.

2 . Without faith in Christ, man doth remaine in the state of damnation, John 3. 18. He is already judged. John 3. 36. He shall not see life, but the wrath of God remaineth on him. But they whosoever are restored into the bosome of grace, every one of them hath remission of sinnes, which makes men happy, Psal. 32. 1. neither doe they remaine in condemnation; neither doth the wrath of God remaine upon them. They therefore who want faith, are not restored, by the death of Christ, into the [p. 63] state of grace or salvation, since through the name of Christ no man obtaineth remission of sinnes, except hee who beleeves in him, Acts 10. 43.

3. If so be the death of Christ hath obtained restitution for all, then are they restored either then when Christ from all eternity was destinated to death, which is false; For so no man should be borne a child of wrath, neither should originall sinne any whit damage mankinde, being according to this opinion from all eternity forgiven them, neither should infants and other need the lave of regeneration: which is contrary to the assertion of our Saviour, John 3.5. Except a man be borne of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Or else they were restored in the person of our first parents, when the promise of the seed of the woman was proclaimed. Which cannot be. For our first parents were not restored into the seate of grace, but by faith in Christ, and consequently their posterity in like manner. Therefore not all, whether beleevers or unbeleevers, are restored. Or lastly, when Christ himselfe suffered [p. 64] death upon the Crosse, which cannot be. For so no man before that moment should have beene restored, which will not be granted by any: neither are all restored from that time, because without doubt even at that moment and afterward, the anger of God waxed hot against some of his accusers, condemners, cmcifiers, and mockers.

Anthony Milton, The British Delegation and the Synod of Dort (1618-1619) (Suffolk, UK: The Boydell Press, 2005), 243-251.

Original source:

George Carleton, [et al.], The Collegiat Suffrage of the Divines of Great Britaine, Concerning the Five Articles Controverted in the Low Countries. Which Suffrage was by them delivered in the Synod of God, March 6, Anno 1619. Being their vote or voice forgoing the joint and publique judgment of that Synod (London: Printed for Robert Milbourne, and are to be sold at the Shop in Pauls Churchyard at the sign of the Greyhound, 1629), 43–64.

[Textual explanation: The following is taken from Anthony Milton’s, The British Delegation and the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). For my purposes here, I have reproduced Milton’s copy as far as possible. All footnotes are Milton’s. I have cited th two original marginal references inline. Material contained within brackets following the two marginal references belong to Milton. I have set off the extended quotation of Prosper as a block quotation. All Greek has been transliterated by me. All spelling is original, and all italics original: I have, however, not reproduced the original italics for proper names, as is my normal custom.]


26It is notable that the ordering of these six theses is changed in the 1633 edition of the Collegiate Suffrage, with the first two theses (which deal with Christ’s dying for the elect) being placed at the end, after the theses that maintain that Christ died for all mankind. This changes the emphasis in the Suffrage’s treatment of the atonement, and is surely not accidental. This may represent an attempt by some of the delegates to reverse a defeat that they suffered in the original drafting of the theses: it is significant that in what seems to be an early draft of the Suffrage, the order of the theses follows the same logic as the 1633 edition, with the first thesis (dealing with the elect) placed last (Ward L2, fo. 16v). The obvious suspects behind the 1633 reordering would be Ward and Davenant (and the death in the meantime of Bishop Carleton may have led them to feel more free to make the change.

27Should be Rom. 8.32, 33, 34 (Acta).

28Should be 38 (Acta and 1626 edn).

29The two following sentences – the quotation from John 3.19 and the subsequent observation–are omitted in the Acta, although they are included in 1626 edn.

30Should be Matt. 20.15 (Acta).

31Acts 16.67 (Acta); Acts 10.67 (1626 edn). The correct reference – Acts 16.6-7–is only supplied in

the 1633 edition.

32This supplies a reference lacking in Acta and 1626 edn.

33Rom. 9.15 (1626 edn); Rom. 9.9 (Acta). Only the Acta citation is accurate.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 at 2:12 pm and is filed under Diversity at Dort. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 comments so far


Thanks for transcribing this!

November 27th, 2011 at 11:48 am

Hey there Joel,

Thanks for stopping by.

I think it is crucial that folk get a better understanding of Dort, specifically, exactly what Dort meant to exclude, on the one hand, and what it did not intend to exclude, on the other hand. So many today are bogged down in “TULIP” under the false notion that it accurately represents Dort, in particular, and historic Calvinism (in all its forms and diverse expressions) in general.


November 29th, 2011 at 11:00 am

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