1) But while I have no idea that they intend to be satisfied with anything that I can say, I will repeat in another form, what my opinion is, so that no fair mind will be any longer misled to suspect me of ambiguity. I am asked whether I believe that “Christ bore the guilt of his elect only.” I reply, Christ designed by his sufferings to deliver the elect only from their guilt. In that sense he “bore” the guilt of the elect only. But if they wish to make me say that Christ had no more to do with the guilt of the non-elect than of the fallen angels, I shall not say it. For Christ’s work has actually procured for them great temporary benefits, which their guilt would personally have made them unworthy to enjoya suspension of just doom, social, material good, common operations of H(oly) G(host) and an offer of salv.(ation) from God, who is “serious.” Had there been no mediatorial dispensation, the doom would doubtless have followed immediately on the guilt, as in the case of fallen angels. I must believe, therefore, that, (with Hodge) there is a relation which the sufferings of Christ had to all men."56 Cited by, Morton Howison Smith, Studies in Southern Presbyterian Theology (Amsterdam: Campen, `962), 201. [Some minor reformatting; footnote content and value original; italics original; parenthetical inserts Morton Smith’s; and underlining mine.] [Credit to Michael Lynch for this find.]

2) There is no safer clue for the student through this perplexed subject, than, to take this proposition; which, to every Calvinist, is nearly as indisputable as a truism; Christ’s design in His vicarious work was to effectuate exactly what it does effectuate, and all that it effectuates, in its subsequent proclamation. This is but saying that Christ’s purpose is unchangeable and omnipotent. Now, what does it actually effectuate? “We know only in part,” but so much is certain.

(a.) The purchase of the full and assured redemption of all the elect, or of all believers.

(b.) A reprieve of doom for every sinner of Adam’s race who does not die at his birth (For these we believe it has purchased heaven). And this reprieve gains for all, many substantial, though temporal benefits, such as unbelievers, of all men, will be the last to account no benefits. Among these are postponement of death and perdition, secular well being, and the bounties of life.

(c.) A manifestation of God’s mercy to many of the non elect, to all those, namely, who live under the Gospel, in sincere offers of a salvation on terms of faith. And a sincere offer is a real and not a delusive benefaction; because it is only the recipients contumacy which disappoints it.

(d.) A justly enhanced condemnation of those who reject the Gospel, and thereby a clearer display of God’s righteousness and reasonableness in condemning, to all the worlds.

(e.) A disclosure of the infinite tenderness and glory of God’s compassion, with purity, truth and justice, to all rational creatures.

Had there been no mediation of Christ, we have not a particle of reason to suppose that the doom of our sinning race would have been delayed one hour longer than that of the fallen angels. Hence, it follows, that it is Christ who procures for non elect sinners all that they temporarily enjoy, which is more than their personal deserts, including the sincere offer of mercy. In view of this fact, the scorn which Dr. William Cunningham heaps on the distinction of a special, and general design in Christ’s satisfaction, is thoroughly shortsighted. All wise beings (unless God be the exception), at times frame their plans so as to secure a combination of results from the same means. This is the very way they display their ability and wisdom. Why should God be supposed incapable of this wise and fruitful acting? I repeat, the design of Christ’s sacrifice must have been to effectuate just what it does effectuate. And we see, that, along with the actual redemption of the elect, it works out several other subordinate ends. There is then a sense, in which Christ “died for” all those ends, and for the persons affected by them. Dabney, Lectures in Systematic Theology, 528-529.

3) Well, then, the realized results of Christ’s sacrifice are not one, but many and various:

1. It makes a display of God’s general benevolence and pity toward all lost sinners, to the glory of his infinite grace. For, blessed be his name, he says, “I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth” (Ezek. 18:32).

2. Christ’s sacrifice has certainly purchased for the whole human race a merciful postponement of the doom incurred by our sins, including all the temporal blessings of our earthly life, all the gospel restraints upon human depravity, and the sincere offer of heaven to all. For, but for Christ, man’s doom would have followed instantly after his sin, as that of the fallen angels did.

3. Christ’s sacrifice, wilfully rejected by men, sets the stubbornness, wickedness, and guilt of their nature in a much stronger light, to the glory of God’s final justice.

4. Christ’s sacrifice has purchased and provided for the effectual calling of the elect, with all the graces which insure their faith, repentance, justification, perseverance, and glorification. Now, since the sacrifice actually results in all these different consequences, they are all included in Gods design. This view satisfies all those texts quoted against us.

But we cannot admit that Christ died as fully and in the same sense for Judas as he did for Saul of Tarsus. Here we are bound to assert that, while the expiation is infinite, redemption is particular. The irrefragable grounds on which we prove that the redemption is particular are these: From the doctrines of unconditional election, and the covenant of grace. (The argument is one, for the covenant of grace is but one aspect of election.) The Scriptures tell us that those who are to be saved in Christ are a number definitely elected and given to him from eternity to be redeemed by his mediation. How can anything be plainer from this than that there was a purpose in God’s expiation, as to them, other than that it was as to the rest of mankind? (See the Scriptures regarding the immutability of God’s purposes–Isa. 46:10; 2 Tim. 2:19.) R.L. Dabney, The Five Points of Calvinism (Virginia: Sprinkle Publications, 1992), 62-64.


56Heads of Sug. In support of Rep. Committee of Conference on Union with Inited Synod," MS, Union Seminary Library, Richmond, Virginia, pp. 23-24.

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