I have perused oft the Confession of the Assembly, and verily judge it the most excellent fullness and exactness that I have ever read from any church. And though the truths therein being of several degrees of evidence and necessity, I do not hold them with equal clearness, confidence, or certainty, and though some few points in it are beyond my reach, yet I have observed nothing in it contrary to my judgement, if I may be allowed these expositions following.
1. Ch. 3. sect. 6. & ch. 8. sect. 8., which speak against universal redemption, I understand not of all redemption, and particularly not of the mere bearing the punishment of man’s sins, and satisfying God’s justice; but of that special redemption proper to the elect, which was accompanied with an intention of actual application of the saving benefits in time. If I may not be allowed this interpretation, I must herein dissent: and if this confession was intended for a test to all that should ever go into, or exercise ministry, I hope it was never the mind of that reverend assembly to have shut out such men as Bishop Ussher, Davenant, Hall, Dr. Preston, Dr. Staughton, Mr William Fenner, Dr. Ward, and many excellent divines, as never this church enjoyed, who were all for general redemption, though not for an equal general redemption: to say nothing of the divines of France, Breme, and Beroline, and other foreigners that go this way.
Richard Baxter, Richard Baxter’s Confession of Faith (London: Printed by R.W. for Tho. Underhil, and Fra. Tyton, and are to be sold at the Anchor and Bible in Pauls Church-yard, and at the three Daggers in Fleetstreet, 1665), 20-21. [Some spelling modernized; italics original; and underlining mine.]