It has been objected, though not by Mr. B[ooth], “how does the sufficiency of Christ’s death afford ample ground for general invitations, if the design was confined to the elect people? If the benefits of his death were never intended for the non-elect, is it not just as inconsistent to invite them to partake of them as if there were a want of sufficiency!

This explanation seems to be no other than shifting the difficulty.”

To this I answer:

1. It is a fact that the Scriptures rest the general invitation of the gospel upon the atonement of Christ–2 Cor. v. 19, 21; Matt. xxii. 4; John iii. 16.

2. If there were not a sufficiency in the atonement for the salvation of sinners, and yet they were invited to be reconciled to God, they must be invited to what is naturally impossible. The message of the gospel would in this case be as if the servants who went forth to bid the guests had said, “Come,” though, in fact, nothing was ready, if many of them had come.

3. If there be an objective fullness in the atonement of Christ sufficient for any number of sinners, were they to believe in Him, there is no other impossibility in the way of any man’s salvation to whom the gospel comes than what arises from the state of his own mind. The intention of God not to remove the impossibility, and so not to save him, is only a resolution to withhold, not only that which he was not obliged to give, but that which is never represented as necessary to the consistency of exhortations and invitations to a compliance. I do not deny that there is a difficulty; but it belongs to the general subject of reconciling the purposes of God and the agency of man; whereas, in the other case, God is represented as inviting sinners to partake of that which does not exist, and which therefore is naturally impossible. The one, while it ascribes the salvation of the believer, in every stage of it, to mere grace, renders the unbeliever inexcusable, which the other, I conceive, does not.

Andrew Fuller, The Complete Works of Rev. Andrew Fuller with a Memoir of his Life, By Andrew Gunton Fuller in two Volumes (Boston: Gould, Kendall and Lincoln, 1836), 1:674 // Andrew Fuller, “Six Letters to Dr. Ryland Respecting The Controversy with the Rev. A. Booth: Letter III on Substitution,” in The Works of Andrew Fuller (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 2:709. [Some reformatting; some spelling modernised; bracketed insert mine; and underlining mine.]

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