Quest. Do reprobates receive any benefit by Christ’s death?

Answ. In some respects it had been better for them if there had not been a Christ, because when they wilfully refuse him, it aggravates their sin and condemnation, John 3:19, and 15:22, yet several mercies do redound even to the reprobate by Christ’s death. As,

1. There is no man that lives under the means of grace, but he may hereby be encouraged to repent, and to believe for his salvation; whereas the apostate angels are left without hope.

2. The ministers of the gospel may hereupon promiscuously preach the Gospel to all, as within the sphere of Christ’s death; so the apostle writing to churches, wherein many were corrupt both for doctrine and manners, yet calls them a church, saints, believers, not excluding any from the benefit of Christ. So, therefore, may ministers do in their preaching; yet they must not propound Christ as a saviour to them in the first place, but must do as Paul when he preached to Felix, Acts 24:25, laying open the wrath of God to him for his sins, so that he trembled. So must they humble them by the law before they preach the gospel.

3. Reprobates have this advantage by Christ, that they enjoy all the mercies they have. For all being forfeited by Adam’s sin, by Christ (who is the heir of all things) they come lawfully to enjoy the mercies they have. For it’s Christ that bears up the world. Indeed, they have not a sanctified use of what they enjoy; for to the impure all things are impure, Tit. 1:15, but otherwise they have a lawful right before God and man to what they enjoy, Psal. 115:8.

4. It’s by Christ’s death that many wicked are partakers of the common gifts of God’s Spirit. It is the Spirit of Christ that gives several gifts to men, 1 Cor. 14, Christ is the vine, and so not only grapes, but even leaves come from his sap and juice.

5. Christ by his death is made Lord of the whole world, and has conquered all the inhabitants that are therein, so that they are Christ’s as a Lord, who has bought by his death, 2 Pet. 2:1, “The denied the Lord that bought them.” Wicked men are brought by him to be his vassals and servants, and he may dispose of them as he pleases for his churches good.

Samuel Clarke, Medulla Theologiæ: Or the Marrow of Divinity, Contained in Sundry Questions and Cases of Conscience, both Speculative, and Practical; the Greatest Part of them Collected out of the Works of Our Most Judicious, Experienced, and Orthodox English Divines, The Rest Supplied by the Authour, (London: Printed by Thomas Ratcliff, for Thomas Underhill, of the Blue Anchor and Bible in Pauls Church-Yard, 1659), 284. [Some reformatting; some spelling modernized; and italics original.]

[Note: While I think what Clarke says is fairly sterile and bleak, what he does say here is of historical and theological interest and which further undercuts modern Hypercalvinist claims regarding what is and is not “true” Reformed orthodoxy.]

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