James Fraser of Brea (1639-1698) on 2 Peter 2:1

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in 2 Peter 2:1 (and Jude 4)


And finally, the Spirit of God tells us plainly, to put the Matter beyond Debate, that Christ bought Reprobates, 2 Pet. ii. 1, 2, 3, the same words used, Rev. v. 9. and xiv. 3, 4, Gal. iii. 13, not such as gave out themselves, or were thought in the judgment of charity to be really redeemed, but designed and deciphered as such, yet brought on themselves swift damnation, these are said to be bought. And as it would be an incongruous speech to aver of these false prophets, that they denied the Lord who elected them from eternity to Glory (which they say is of equal extent with redemption) tho’ they gave out themselves for elected persons; so is it incongruous to affirm they were redeemed by Christ if they had no interest in Christ’s death at all, more then in God’s gracious and eternal election: besides, let us but thus distinguish and gloss, and what shall ye be able to prove as real from Scripture? It is not far from the distinction of Secundum te est verum; Secundum me est falsum:1 It’s truly said so, but it is not meant as it is said, but as it appears; then Christ died only in appearance as Mahomet says, then Paul may be said not to be really converted, tho’ it be expressly affirmed in Scripture, only he seemed to be so, and gave out himself to be so, I confess it is a distinction that cannot be insisted upon.

(4.) That however justification, effectual calling, sanctification, glorification are of as large extent as redemption, as some maintain; and that it is a certain truth that he hath elected, sanctified, glorified and justified some of all ranks as well as redeemed them; and that merely upon this account these general terms are used in the matters of redemption, and because of the vast church of Gentiles, to whom the Gospel was preached, and of which the Church of God’s Elect was to consist under the New Testament, and not so under the Old. I ask,

How come it that it’s not said in Scripture that God has elected the whole world, sanctified every man; for in that sense it is as true that God elected, sanctified, justified and glorified them all, as that he died for them all; for he elected, justified and sanctified all sorts and ranks of persons? Why are comprehensive universalities used in the matter of redemption, when such restrictions are used in the matter of election and justification?

Surely (that I may express myself in the ingenuous gentleman Mr. Polhill’s words) it imports this much to us, that redemption has a larger sphere then election has, and therefore the Scripture contracts election in words of specialty only, while they open and dilate redemption in emphatic generalities: These considerations move me to think that there may be a general common redemption of all mankind, I dare not gainstand such light, and express clear and various Scriptures; I conclude then, that as the Lord, if he had pleased, might have made his Son die for all, and having done so, could have expressed it in words sufficient to make us believe it; if words can express and hold out this truth to us, I think we have it. And I ask, “Were it true that Christ died for all, what form of words imaginable is not this holden out to us by that we could desire? And what Expression will not that Distinction in reality and in appearance elide.

James Fraser (of Brea) A Treatise on Justifying Faith, Wherein is Opened the Grounds of Believing, or the Sinner’s Sufficient Warrant to take Hold of what is Offered in the Everlasting Gospel: Together with an Appendix Concerning the Extent of Christ’s Death, Unfolding the Dangerous and Various Pernicious Errors that hath been Vented about it (Edinburgh: Printed and sold by William Gray at Magdalen’s Chappel within the Cowgate Head, 1749), 194-195. [Some spelling modernized; some reformatting, italics original; and underlining mine.]


1 Latin: “According to you it true, according to me it is false.”

This entry was posted on Monday, April 15th, 2013 at 7:14 am and is filed under 2 Peter 2:1 (and Jude 4). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed at this time.