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Calvin and Calvinism » Blog Archive » Wolfgang Musculus (1497-1563) on the Redemption of Mankind

Wolfgang Musculus

Calvin’s esteem of Musculus:

21st April 1547.

…Adieu, most upright brother, and one dear to me from the bottom of my heart, as also your fellow-ministers, all of whom you will very affectionately salute in my name. May the Lord Jesus be present with you, guide you by his Spirit, and bless your holy labors. You will also convey to your family my best greeting. — Yours, John Calvin

GENEVA, 28th Nov. 1549.

…From my confidence in your friendship, I expostulate the more freely with you and my friend Haller. For I am persuaded that some things which trouble me are displeasing to you also. But however that may be, I hope you will put a just and friendly interpretation on these complaints. Adieu, most excellent and accomplished man, and my revered brother in the Lord. May God keep you and your family, and be ever present with you and guide you! — Yours, John Calvin.

Brief Biography:

Wolfgang Musculus, born in a small town of Lorraine, and of an obscure family, raised himself by his talents, and the varied range of his accomplishments, to a place among the most distinguished men of his time. He cultivated with success music, poetry, and theology; was converted to the gospel in a convent by the perusal of the writings of Luther; gained the friendship of Capito and Bucer, and quitted Strasbourg in 1531, with a view to the discharge of the functions of the ministry in the church of Augsbourg. Driven from that city in 1548, by the proclamation of the Interim, he withdrew at first to Zurich, and afterwards to Berne, where he died in 1563. His numerous manuscripts, as well as those of Abraham Musculus his son, are reserved in the Library of Zoffingue. — Melch. Adam, Vitoe Theol. Germ., page 367.

Richard Muller:

Wolfgang Musculus (1497-1663); studied in the Benedictine monastery near Lixheim; advocated reformed after reading early tracts by Luther and fled the monastery in 1518. From 1529 to 1531 he studied at Strasbourg and was a preacher in Augsburg from 1531 to 1548. Forced out of Germany by the Augsburg Interim (1548) he went to Switzerland and was appointed professor of theology in Bern (1549), a post he held until his death. Major dogmatic work: loci communes sacrae theologiae (1560). Richard Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, 1:41 (first edition).

Augustine Marlorate:

For more material from Musculus, see the Augustine Marlorate file.

Sins of the world:

Secondary source:

1)He has born the sins of all men, if we consider his sacrifice according to the virtue of it in itself, and think that no man is excluded from the grace but he that refuses it. “So God loved he world, that he gave his only begotten Son, to the end that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life;” John 3:16. But if we respect those which do so believe and are saved; so he has born only the sins of many. Wolfgang Musculus, Comment, in Esaiam. [liii.5.], cited by Joseph Hall, “Via Media: The Way of Peace,” in The Works of the Right Reverent Joseph Hall, (New York, Ames press, 1969), 9:510.

Primary source:

1) We have spoken in the places before, of the grace of God, of the redemption of mankind, appointed to us from everlasting in Christ, and perfected these latter times, and also of the incarnation of the word: now we must proceed by degree to his dispensation. And I do not speak of the dispensation whereby Christ in his flesh executed the will of his Father in offering himself for us but of the same whereby salvation is gotten & communicated unto the world, that we may be made partakers of it. The grace of God is ready and set forth open to all the whole world, even as the benefit of the sun casting our heat & brightness everywhere, is read unto all. But it is necessary, that the same which is so ready & at hand for all men, be profitably received. To this purpose serves the dispensation of the purchased & prepared salvation. Two things do belong unto a redeemer. The one is to redeem: the other, is to dispense or bestow the grace of this redemption. Without this dispensation a man cannot attain unto the end & prick of the appointed redemption. Nor it is not a perfect redemption, unless the fruit of it do stretch unto them which be redeemed, & so take his effect. Indeed the grace of itself is a perfect, & the work of redemption perfect, which was made absolute & consummate by one oblation upon the cross: but for as much as the same perfection whereby the justice of God is satisfied for the sins of the whole world, is appointed unto the fruit of our salvation, it is rightly deemed imperfect, unless, it do reach unto this appointed end, although it be never so full & consummate, in itself. Wherefore the very necessity of the persevering & fulfilling of our redemption, & the counsel & purpose of God’s grace, did not require this only, that he should be offered as an expiatory, perfect & sufficient host for our sins, but that the grace of the redemption gotten by this oblation, should be communicated amongst wretched sinners, & obtain his effect by virtue of the dispensation. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 331.

2) The Schoolmen do call Satisfaction the work of Penance, enjoined by the Priest after the Auricular confession. And here they make much ado, that the satisfaction on be neither less nor lighter than countervailing the weight of the sin. This doctrine of satisfaction does exceedingly darken the clearness of the grace of Christ: it does make men’s conscience either falsely assured, when they suppose that they have satisfied: either it does piteously torment them, when they cannot tell by what time they have satisfied in the sight of God for one sin: much less all their sins. Besides that it has opened not one gap but all doors, windows, arches, &c., to the Popes market, to gain pagan pardons; and for the traffic of Priests masses, to deliver souls out of Purgatory. Wherefore all godly do worthy abhor it. The doctrine of the Gospel does denounce unto us pardon of our sins, by the blood of Christ, by the shedding whereof, there is satisfaction made, not only for ours, but for the sins also of the whole world. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 528-529.

3) II. To Whom Sins be forgiven.

If we consider of them which do purchase the forgiveness of their sins by the grace of God, there is but a small number of them, even as it is of the elect in respect of the reprobate, whose sins be withhold for evermore. But we seek not here to whom this grace of forgiveness does befall, but rather to whom it is to be taught and set forth. We can not here appoint upon any certain persons, to whom only this forgiveness of sins is to be preached. All men be generally called unto it, both Jews and Greeks, learned and unlearned, wise and foolish, rich and poor, old and young, men and women. For like as God enclosed all under unbelief that he might have mercy upon all, so he will have this grace of his mercy to be set forth to all men: “So God loved the world,” (says our Saviour), “that he gave his only begotten son, that everyone which believes in him should not perish, but have life everlasting.” And in the first epistle of John, we read this: “But in case any man do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just, and he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for the sins also of the whole world. I think that there is meant by the world, all mankind, by which the world does consist, from the beginning of it, until the end. Therefore when it is said, that God gave his son for the world, and that he is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world what else is meant, but that the grace of forgiveness of sins is appointed unto all men, so that the Gospel thereof is to be preached unto all creatures? In this respect the gentle love of GOD towards man is set forth unto us to be considered, whereby he would not have any to perish, but all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. But for all that, this general grace has some conditions going withal, of which we will speak hereafter. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 577-8.

4) III. By what means the forgiveness of sins is gotten.

Indeed, the forgiveness of sins is altogether frank and free, so that it is no due nor debt to our merits, but it is a mere and unbounden grace: and yet it is requisite by reason itself, that it be not bestowed and received without certain means and conditions. Of the means we will speak in this article, and of the conditions in the next after. And like as men must acknowledge two means of justification, whereof we speak before, so we must do also in forgiveness of sins: One in which, the other by which is bestowed and received. The mean in which, is Christ the only mediator, reconciler, and redeemer of all men, to whom all Prophets do bear witness, that all they which do believe in him, do receive forgiveness of sins by his name: by whose blood we be washed from our sins, whom God appointed to be the propitiation for the sins of all the world, and to reconcile the world unto himself in him. Of this mean, as far as I know, there is no doubt among Christian men. We do all confess that Christ is that lamb of God, which takes away the sins of the world, whose blood was shed upon the Cross for our sins. But the means, by which, is two sorts, for there is one mean whereby it is bestowed, and another whereby the forgiveness of sins is received. The means of bestowing it, the School Doctors do call Applicatory means. Unless (say they) that the merit of Christ be applied to this man or that man, there is no offence of sin taken away, seeing that it is taken away only in the virtue of Christ’s passion, and therefore for as much as the sacraments be the immediate applicative means of the passion of Christ unto us, it behooves that in the case the fault must be forgiven, it must be done by some sacraments, exhibited either in fact or in vow. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 578.

5) And there by three manner of sacrifices of this priesthood, of which the first does pertain only unto Christ as our mediator and High Priest, the other two be common to us also with him. The first is the sacrifice of expiation or cleansing, wherein he offered himself the only and immaculate host upon the Cross to God the Father for the sins of the whole world. Of this sacrifice we have spoken before. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 604.

6) Secondly, when they [who truly feed from Christ] be at the communion, they do behave themselves comely towards the outward things which they do conceive with their eyes & years. They do diligently harken to the doctrine of truth, & to the words of the Lord’s institution. They do pray faithfully with the church, they do give thanks unto their redeemer for his unspeakable love, that he offered up himself an host of reconcilement unto God his Father for the sins of the whole world. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 789.

7) Behold the study and device of the whole order of the Priesthood that is nowadays. And are[?] one among them all, be they never so many , that does not sacrifice for his belly’s sake, and for idleness: but they reply: “Albeit that we do displease the Lord’s eyes, yet for all that the sacrifice which we do offer does please, I mean the body and the blood of Christ, that is Christ himself.” Ah, vile men, what and if God should say unto you: “I know Christ my Son, but what be you? he offered himself unto me once for the sins of the world, who bids you offer him again anew?” Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 802.

8) 1. First, we do not deny, but that the sacrifices of Abraham and Abel pleased God, they pleased, but not for themselves, (for God is not pleased with burnt offerings, nor will not have sacrifice and offering) but only for the persons of them which did offer, and so Cain’s sacrifice did not please him, but Abel’s did please him, because he liked the one, and misliked the other.

2. Secondly, we do allow that also that he will not have the sacrifice of Christ compared with the sacrifices of the fathers, because that he [Christ] does in infinite degrees pass them, and go beyond all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, but we do disallow that they do not stand only upon him, so as he is once offered for the sins of the whole world, and can be offered no more, but that they [the massing priests] do as much as in them lies, decay the efficacy and strength thereof by daily offering him again, and do make Christ’s offering like unto the lawish Sacrifices, which were oftentimes offered again, because they were overweak to cleanse away sins. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 825. [Inserts mine.]

Christ died for all (2 Corinthians 5:14):

1) “if one died for all therefore all were dead”

Certainly none no-one has great love, which gives its life for its friends. Truly, Christ died not for his friends only, but also [his] enemies, nor for certain people only, but for all people. This is the immeasurable greatness of divine love…

To be sure, we understand not that Christ died for all so that its efficacy reaches commonly to all [people]. Accordingly, it [Christ’s death] is not received by reprobates, unbelievers, and impenitents, although in itself it is sufficient for redeeming the whole human race. Salvation is proposed, which from it, is for all and sufficient for all, and presently may be received by all, “God loved the whole world that he gave his only begotten son, that all who believe in him, may not perish, but have eternal life” John 3. Thus he died for all (because all were dead) that all who believe in him might be brought back to life and be saved.    Wolfgang Musculus, In ambas apostoli Pauli ad Corinthios epistolas commentarii. (Basel: Per Haeredes Ioannis Hervagii, 1566), 174 and 175.

The Redemption of Mankind:

1) But generally the will of God towards mankind is opened unto all people and nations, by the word of the preaching of the Gospel, the dispensation whereof was committed unto the Apostles by the Lord himself, saying: “Go and preach all nations, and go into all the world, and preach the Gospel unto all creatures,” &c. This is the general word, the word of salvation and life set forth unto all, whereby the mysteries which have been always hidden of God, of the Holy Trinity, of the incarnation of the word, of the redemption and reconciliation of mankind, of the adoption of the children of God, which is by Christ, of the justifying and glorifying of the faithful, of the Spirit, of the reign of Christ, and such other like, be expounded. Now let the godly person ponder with himself, how much he ought to esteem the communion of the word, if the Prophet could make so much of the word of the law whereby no man is saved, as to say, that he did not the like unto any nation. May not he more justly say, ‘Blessed be God, which does announce the word of his grace unto all nations, and the gospel of his kingdom unto al people?” He has not done so to Israel alone, but unto all nations, & has showed his only begotten son unto all? The mysteries of the grace of Christ are known neither by the works of God, neither by any particular word sent unto Israel, but by the word of the Gospel set forth unto the whole world. And that God of his special purpose gave the word of the law, wherein is contained the mystery of death & anger, not unto all nations, but unto Israel only, a stiff people and stubborn: and the word of the Gospel wherein is contained the word of salvation & life, not unto the nation of the Jews only, but generally unto all the nations of the whole world, we have declared in our Commentaries upon the place before rehearsed in the 147. Psalm. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 1073-4.

Unlimited Redemption:


Of the Redemption of Mankind.1

I have thought good next after the place of the grace of God, to join unto it, the same of the redemption of Mankind, wherein is comprised, as it were, the very some of the counsel and purpose of the heavenly grace. And me thinks the proceeding of it not evil, to go from the fountain of our salvation down to the river, that is from the counsel of God’s grace, to that work predestinated from everlasting. And because the multitude of those things which do pertain to the reader, I will use a certain order, though not exact, yet such as I judge may be sufficient to a godly mind. As for then that be curious, no man be able to satisfy.

Concerning the word Redemption, it is manifest what it is to redeem: surely to challenge into a man’s own power or to procure to liberty, by giving the value or price of anything which came into another man’s power by selling or imprisonment. Likewise also this Greek word apolutrosis, which the Apostle uses now and then, has the signification of Redemption, which is by giving a price or ransom, which they do mean by lutrou. But the Hebrews use this word GAL, which signifies to redeem, somewhat more largely and generally. In Leviticus it is used for the deliverance which is by giving a price. In diverse places of Scripture it is used also for any kind of deliverance, yea though it be by strong hand, when a man oppressed, is taken from the violence of the wicked.

Now we must in redemption consider degrees, who it is that is redeemed, from when, by whom, how, when, and to what purpose and end. Touching this matter we have in hand, the very title of this place speaking of the redemption of mankind. Mankind comprehends not one or two nations, but the universal world, that is all the nations of the world, all men from the first to the last. Israel was redeemed sundry times, out of Egypt, sometimes from the tyranny of the Cananites, out of Babylon &c. But here is it is not meant of some special redemption of any people, but of the same which is generally of all. We know that all be not partakers of this redemption, but yet the loss of them which be not saved, does hinder nothing at all, why it should not be called an universal redemption, which is appointed not for one nation, but for all the whole world. That resolution or opening of the earth, when all things every where are opened in the summer, to bud forth, is well called universal, albeit many trees & and many places do bringing forth neither buds nor fruit. The Sun is that general giver of light to the whole world, though there be many which do receive no light at all of him. There was among the Jews upon the year of Jubilee, a general delivery of all bond men, although many which abide in their bondage, did refuse the grace of the delivery. In like case it is with this redemption of mankind, whereof we talk, it is not for lack of the grace of God, that the reprobate and desperately wicked men do not receive it: nor is it right that it should loose his title and glory of universal redemption because of the children of perdition, saying that it is ready for all men, and all be called unto it. So he redeemed the world, what soever do become of the reprobate, is most justly called the Saviour of the world. And Christ does not lie when he says: “I am the light of the world, albeit there be an innumerable sort in this world which have no part of the grace of his light. And this redemption is also universal for this cause, it is so appointed unto all men, that without it no man is, nor can be redeemed. No doubt it is to be understood in this sense, when the grace of universal salvation and redemption is propounded in the Scriptures. For this may we shall avoid either to obscure and straighten the glory of universal grace, either to say with the phrenetic persons, that no man is at all damned, and do perish everlastingly.

Secondly, we must see from whence mankind is redeemed. Redemption takes no place in men that be at liberty, as another giving life again to them which be alive. For from whence should he be redeemed which is under bondage to no body. But mankind is redeemed. Which gave himself (says the Apostle) the price of redemption for all men (1 Timoth. 2.). Ergo all mankind was subject unto bondage, from which it is redeemed. What bondage the same was, it appears by the writings as well of the Apostles, as also the Evangelists. He that does sin, is the bondman of sin, says Christ. Item, I am sold under sin, says the Apostle. Also which delivered us, says he, out of the power of darkness, & translated us into the kingdom of the love of his Son (John. 8, Rom. 7, Col 1.). So that all mankind serving sin, fell into the power of darkness, that is of Satan, whom Christ also calls therefore, the Prince of this world. This consideration gives us to understand that there is not one of all mankind, but in that he is conceived and born in sin, he is bondman unto sin, and consequently also subject unto the power of darkness, unless he be made partaker of this universal redemption. In this point we must not except the holy men, Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles.

For in that they were very godly, they were so as redeemed, not as born of Adam. Their godliness came of the grace of God, not of nature, God had concluded them also under sin, that being saved, they might boast of his mercy, not glory of their own justice.

It cannot be understood by carnal men, how much this redemption from bondage of sin is to be esteemed. For it seems pleasant unto them to follow the pleasures of the fleshing in sinning, for it is to them the very unthankful matter to be redeemed from sin. The whoremonger priest, when he does mumble out the Collects, as they call them, in the commemoration of Virgins, wherein he does pray unto God, as the words do lead him, for chastity, does with much ado name the word of Chastity, fearing least by the means of the Virgin, he should receive of God the gift of chastity, whether he will or not, & so shifted the filth of his pleasure, might be brought to live chaste: which kind of life he judges to be most miserable. Thus the carnal and voluptuous men be affected. Wherefore they set not a hair by this grace of redemption, but do earnestly with their whole heart abhor it. But others which be stricken with the perseverance of their sin and fear of God’s judgement, when they began once to taste the grace of this redemption, they would not forgo it in no case for all the kingdoms & Empires of all the whole world. Their affection the Apostle did express to the Romans, saying: “Unhappy man, I, who shall deliver me from this body subdued unto,” (Rom. 7.). The carnal man like many[?] that be in a frenzy, perceiving not the bondage of sin whereunto he is subject, that it tends to everlasting perdition, and that the reward of it is death. But of this bondage if any man liste, let him look upon those things which are noted in our Commentary upon John Cap.s.

Thirdly, we must think also of the Redeemer by whom mankind is redeemed from the bondage of sin & Satan. It is a matter of renown, and not every man’s work, to redeem not one man or nation alone, but the universal kind of men, and that not for a season, but for ever: moreover not from a common sort of power, but most strong next unto God, and which is yet more wonderful, so to redeem captives, that whereas of the nature they do love their own flattery, he alters their hearts, so that contrary unto the nature of their own flesh, they do utterly detest the bondage of sin, and do earnestly desire to be delivered from it. To advance the glory of this redeemer, we must way the conditions of the redemption. In a redeemer, there be two points requisites.

The first is, that he be able to redeem: the other, is that the right or redemption. As touching the first, he cannot be a redeemer, which either of strength is too weak, or power to take away stoutly a prisoner out of the power of the tyranny, either to poor to ransom him in paying the price. Therefore it is requisite first of all, that he which will redeem any person must be of power and ability necessary to redeem, according to the quality of the tyranny. Concerning the other part, no man can be a redeemer of right, but he to whom the right of redemption does belong unto. And that is of two parts. For the either it consists in the right of propriety, or else in alliance. By the right of propriety, the master may lawfully redeem his servant, the king and prince his ministers or people. By the right of alliance, the Father does of right redeem his son, the brother, the brother, the kinsman, the kinsman. Of this right of alliance, many things be ordered in the law. In respect hereof, this word GAL that is redeemer, is taken sometimes in the law for a kinsman, & ally so that, as GAL TCHS much, as the ally in the blood. And there is two sorts of alliance: one of blood, an other of religion. Wherefore it is contained in the Cannons, that it does pertain to the Church of the faithful, to redeem the faithful persons out of the hand of the enemies, yea by selling the holy Jewels of Silver and Gold.

Therefore seeing that these points be requisites in a redeemer, let us see consequently who it is that was able both in strength and right to redeem mankind, captive under sin and Satan. The doctrine of the Apostles does attribute this unto Christ Jesus the Son of God. It sets him forth unto us for our redeemer and deliverer. And he does witness this himself saying: “If the son do deliver you, yo shall be at liberty indeed.” Then these two things must be found hin him, that is to say, a greater strength and power then the tyranny of sin and Satan to withstand, and the right of redemption. The strength of sin and the power of Satan be both such that no virtue or strength of man, no nor of Angels can do any good against this bondage. That of man could not, because all mankind is suppressed & captive to this bondage. Wherefore none of the whole number of men born of the seed of man could be of so great power to overcome the tyranny, and deliver mankind. For as Job says: “who can make clean, what which is conceived in and unclean seed,”(Job. 14.) & so we may we may say also here: Who is able by his power, being himself a prisoner and bound, to deliver them which be in prison and bound, wherefore he has none? The strength of Angels could do no good, for that that the nature of Angels cannot take away the evil of sin from mankind, by which Satan does reign in the world. Wherefore the strength of God was in any case requisite, indeed such a redeemer, which being endowed with the power of God, should both take away the evil of sin which is in our flesh, and destroy also the kingdom of Satan. But Christ did this, being stronger than Satan, and whose spirit is able enough to heal our hearts, and to deliver us from the evil of sin. Herein thou has an argument of the divine nature and power both together in Christ.

As concerning the right of redemption, this is also found in Christ full and whole. He has the right of propriety over us, in as much as he is true God, the eternal Word, whereby all things were made. No man has so much propriety over his bondman either bought or caught in war, as the workman over his workmanship, the creator over his creatures. He has the right of alliance in that he was made a very man, so much the nearer unto our primitive nature of man, the further he is off from accession of Satan’s malice. This is that mystery of the incarnate Word, which no man’s reason is able to comprehend. By incarnation he was made our brother, who by his Godhead of the word of the Lord of all. Wherefore, he is not ashamed, says the Apostle, to call us his brethren, when he says” “I will declare thy name to my brethren,” (Hebr. 2.). Hereunto belong all those Scriptures which do commend us the Incarnation of the Word, that is, the nature of man, truly in Christ, of which matter we must retain sound belief against the pestilent poison of them which do defend, that the flesh of Christ came from heaven, from the very substance of the Godhead itself, and not from the seed of Abraham, & our flesh. They do bereave us from Jesus this right of alliance, and overthrow the greatest part of our comfort. Matthew does bring the flesh of Christ, unto Abraham (Matth. 1.), and Luke even to Adam the first man (Luke. 3.), the parent of our common nature, calling him manifestly the son of Adam: and Christ himself does oftentimes call himself The son of man; that is very man, verily born of our flesh. There can be nothing therefore lacking in Christ our common redeemer, in whom there is a strength of God against the strength of Satan and sin, able enough to deliver, and the right of redemption full and whole, chiefly for his dominion of propriety, and partly also for his alliance and kindred of the blood of man. These matters have an earnest and necessary consideration, whereby we do find by what counsel of God it is done, that there is given unto us such a redeemer, which is both true God and true Man, that is the Word incarnate.

Here it may be thought upon also, whether Christ ought to redeem mankind or no? But I suppose we had need to walk warily in answer this question. For if you say that he ought, the danger is, lease you bring the work of our redemption under a kind of duty, and deny the grace of God. God keep that out of the minds of them that be redeemed, to refer to the cause of their redemption to any other thing, than unto the mere free & undeserved grace of the redeemer, and so obscure the glory of his grace. In the other-side if you say that he ought not to redeem mankind, the danger is least you take from him the right of redemption, & bear away this notable and right wonderful work of the right of his lawful authority, and attribute it unto power only, so that the old enemy may accuse the redeemer, that he took mankind out of his kingdom by might only, & no right. Therefore we must say, that Christ did in this matter, in respect of us, not that which he ought to do but that which he willed and purposed to do by grace: and that in respect of his right as well of propriety as of alliance, that he did not only the same which he might and would, but that which he ought to do also, that is which pertained to him only of right. We must beware, because we will not deny this right of his, that we do not say, he did that which he ought not to do. For to do which a man ought not to do, seems to be all one as to do a thing unlawful, and by which no right belonging unto him. And for as much as no man is bound to this, that he must pursue his right, as if it were not at liberty either to give place or to follow the matter, we must not tie a duty unto this right of Christ in the work of redemption, as though he did a thing which he ought of duty to do, and should offend, unless he did it. For albeit he bound his faith and truth with promises, which he did afterwards accomplish in redeeming us, yet the very promises also are not to be referred to any other thing, than to the purpose of grace. He bound himself unto us in promising, not because he ought to do so, but because he had pity upon us, and would, and from ever determined it. Wherefore the very fulfilling also of the promises, is not to be referred unto the promises, but unto free grace, as the very root & fountain of the promises. He might have not promised, unless he would have redeemed: and he might have willed not to redeem us, unless he had inclined by the drift of his own grace to redeem us. Wherefore we must exceedingly beware, that we make not the work of free and mere grace, a work of duty, because of the means of the promises of grace, which though they seem to have a bond of performance of truth, yet of us to whom they were made frankly upon no defect, but rather deserving evil, they must not be taken for duty, but to be had and embraced as of grace.

Fourthly, we must also see, how we be delivered by Christ from sin and Satan. The delivery of captives and bondmen chances to be four ways: either by frank and free manumission or discharge, either by exchange, either by a price of ransom, either by violent taking away. Frank and free discharge had here no place, whether we do consider sin cleaving most fast to our flesh, or the nature of Satan the most wicked tyrant. For there passed no exchange. For God forbid that our redeemer did so deliver us, that he should restore again to Satan any of them which he bound unto him, whom to redeem all, gave himself to death for all There remains the ransom of redemption, and violent taking away. These two be of that nature, that we may see they can not come together in one and self same redemption. For when a prisoner is redeemed by a giving of a ransom, he is not deemed to be taken away violently: and on the other side, when a man is violently taken out of the hand of his enemy, it appears that he is delivered by violence and not by ransom. And yet for all that, these two do always concur in the redemption of mankind.

That Christ redeemed us by a price or ransom, the Apostle witnesses, saying: “You be bought for a great price. And, yea are dearly bought, be not servants of men,” (1 Corinth. 6 & 7). That he should stoutly overcome Satan & his guard, destroy his kingdom, and carry away the spoil, Christ himself witnesses saying: “When a strong armed man keeps his wards, al things be in quiet which he possesses but when a stronger than he does come on, & overcomes him, he will take away from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and shall bestow his spoil,” (Luk. 11.). And the Apostle makes mention of the triumph at the spoiling of Satan (Colloss. 2. & Hebr. 2.). And he reports that Christ, also that he destroyed him which had the empire[?] upon death, meaning the Devil, and so delivered his people. Wherefore a man may well demand, how these two could have place in the deliverance of mankind. If he redeemed us by giving a ransom, how did he violently take us away from Satan and destroyed his kingdom? And what faithful person is so witless, that he can believe that Christ, the Son of God, very God and Man, gave any ransom to the old and cursed Serpent, the most wicked adversary, for whose destruction be came into this world to redeem us from him, saying that he might with greater glory utterly vanquish him, and stoutly take away mankind out of his power? Who is of so simple mind, to give his enemy a ransom, when he can with strong hand and with triumph take from him the captives which he detains? Lo what purpose is the glory of triumph given unto Christ, if he did redeem by giving a ransom? And yet does these be reported of Christ: is not meet to go to the law with holy Scriptures.

Wherefore we must know, that these things be reported of Christ in sundry respects. Whereas he received us by ransom, it is not to be referred unto Satan but unto God the Father. He gave a ransom for us his own blood, that is his own self. “In whom,” (says the Apostle) “we have redemption by his blood.” And Peter says: “We are not redeemed by corruptible things, gold or silver, but by the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb undefiled and without spot.” And Paul says: “There is one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, which gave himself a redemption for all.” This ransom he gave to God, the Father. For he offered himself unto him as the mediator betwixted God and us. This price of his bloodshed for us, is the offering and oblation, belonging unto his priesthood, wherein he did sacrifice, offering not to Satan, but to God his Father. The Apostle says also: “How much more than the blood of Christ, which by the Holy Spirit offers himself, immaculate unto God.

And whereas he delivers us by strong hand, that is to be referred to [?] Satan the Prince of this world, whose power and kingdom he destroyed, and delivered them which he detained captives. But you will say: “What need was there to give a ransom to God the Father for the redeeming of mankind? Saying we were not his prisoners but Satan’s?” The ransom was given to the wrongful tyrant, but unto him which had a right upon us to condemn us, that is to Go, against whom the parents of our kind had sinned. Where was amends to be made to his justice. And whereas there was no man that could do that, but he that were utterly clear from all blame of transgression and disobedience: and having none such, he sent his Word into our flesh, in the likeness of the flesh of sin: that as Paul says, he might condemn sin through sin in the flesh. For this purpose our redeemer offered himself to God the Father as a ransom of redemption for us all, that being delivered from the right of condemnation, blame & guilt of sin, we might be made at one2 with God. And this atonement destroyed the strength & power of sin and Satan. For it could not be, that the Serpent could hold them any longer prisoners, which were made at one with God by the ransom of redemption.

So was both done upon the cross. Both the ransom of our redemption was given to God the Father to reconcile mankind, when he did shed his blood for us, and the power of sin and Satan was destroyed withal. “That by death,” (as the Apostle says) “he might destroy him which had death at his commandment.” Again: “That he did put upon him the cross the handwriting which was against us our sins, &c.” These things briefly I thought good to touch of by the way, concerning our redemption, for the ruder sort, that they may yet perceive some light, by the means of the grace of Christ.

Firstly, it falls also to the consideration of this present matter, how the redemption of mankind was wrought. He which determined with himself to redeem mankind by his grace, from everlasting before the establishment of the world, did by his wisdom determine upon the tune also of his redemption. There was nothing done in this matter rashly. God made all things in wisdom, in number, weight and measure: how much more true[?] you, were all things ordered with special wisdom and counsel in the work of redemption: By this wisdom order was taken also before the beginning of times, for the time when mankind should be redeemed. There is no wise man but knows , that there is a great matter in the tunes to have things well, orderly, & profitably handled. Of the time of the counsel and purpose of God, when he appointed to redeem us, there is no reason to demand. For the same which was done before times from everlasting, passes the captivity & compass of time. But the very work itself of redemption for as much as it is subject unto time, did require a certain determination of preferred time. Whereupon is that of the Apostle, saying: “When the fulness of time came, God sent his Son, &c,” (Galat. 4 & Ephes. 2.). And in another place: “Lo make us to know,” (says he) “the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he determined with himself to the dispensation of the fulness of times, that he might restore all things by Christ, &c.” The fulness of times is the accomplishment of the appointed and preferred time. The fulness of time came, when the determined time was accomplished. Hereby we be easily admonished, that the time of our redemption was not casual, even as the work itself was not, but appointed and determined from everlasting by the counsel of God’s wisdom.

And that this time was determined upon, the writings both of the Apostles and Prophets also do teach. In Isaiah, those things which he forespoken of the dispensation of Christ, are appointed unto the latter days (Isai. 2): and Peter, “Manifested,” (says he) “in the last days, because of you,” (1 Pet.1.). And the History of the Gospel does sufficiently declare, at what time the redeemer came into the world. He came neither at the beginning neither in the midst, but towards the evening, when the course of this world was past more than half, & began to incline the decay. A man would think that the space of time has been very long since the birth of Christ until these days of ours: but if you look backwards to the times that are past, which went before the law, and the times which were after that again, appointed for the law, until the coming of Christ, which came to four thousand years, you shall perceive that the dispensation of Christ was appointed into the latter times, as to the very later part or Evening of the world.

Here we may not be to busy to search the counsel of God, why he sent not his son and redeemer immediately after the fall of mankind. Without doubt there be many and great reasons, wherefore the providence of God did so dispose the course of man’s salvation, that the seasons in which our nature should be concluded under sin, & the promises, figures and shadows of our redemption that was to come, the law of the letter also and the course of the Prophets should have their race, & in all them should run out more than half this present world.

It was requisite, that the hugeness or extremities of evil should be set forth more and more by innumerable, most great and most evident examples and arguments, not of one hundred years alone, but of many that should be wrought & most certainly known of all things, that all mankind is corrupt and depraved in his very nature.

Secondly, that exceeding & wonderful patience of God’s goodness was to be declared in that, that he did spare so many hundred years the desperate malice of en, & withal did bear with the sins of ignorance, & blindness, as the Apostle speaks.

Thirdly, it was expedient to sharpen the desire of godly men, to make them to wish for the promised seed, with endless wishings and sighings, and to exercise their faith also in looking for the redemption to come, and to embrace it as present a greater whiles before it came. In this faith, hope, expectation, desire, and wishes, it behooved the holy men not only to live, but to die also, and to depart out of this life, as not having gotten that which they did look for. Furthermore it was intended , that the more the evil of our loss was revealed & enforced, so much the greater & more renowned the glory of universal redemption and the justice of God seem to be, in that that he being just himself, does instruct them which be of the faith of Jesus. See Paul unto the Romans. This we may goodly and to some profit consider in this matter, and beware withal, that we do not unadvisedly search the most secret causes of the deferring so long of the redemption.

Peradventure some bodies will ask, what became of them which departed out of this life before the time of redemption, even from the beginning of the world, how they could be saved, seeing they died before that Christ the redeemer was born. I answer: The very work of redemption was subject unto a determination of time, that it could not be accomplished sooner than it was appointed: but the effect and virtue of the work is in no wise tied to any time, but hangs upon the perpetuity of the grace of God, and began even from the beginning, and it extends even unto the very end of the world. And in respect of this virtue, and not of the world itself, which was at length fulfilled in the later days, it is said in the Apocalypse, that the lamb, meaning Christ, was slain from the beginning of the world. The virtue of his death, as it were with both arms stretched out, embraced as well the times that went before, as the times following. Wherefore w must not judge so childishly, to think that the efficacy and virtue thereof is to be measured of time, when the very work of it was done. It is the condition of bodily and temporary redemptions, that captives cannot be in very deed redeemed and delivered, before the very of redemption be transacted: again the very effect of the redemption does not extend to any but to them only which be found alive and present at the time of the redemption, and not to them which be dead. Wherefore they be most fond of all others, which do apply the Holy Scriptures prophesying of the delivery promised by Christ, unto a temporal and bodily redemption. This redemption appointed to the world in Christ, is far larger and more effectual. It is eternal, not temporal. “Once,” (says the Apostle) “he entered into the holy place, and found eternal redemption,” (Heb. 9.). That which is eternal, is not to be tied only neither to the times passed, neither to the present, nor to the times to come. This redemption is eternal, first for the counsel of the grace of God, whereby it was purposed from everlasting: again for because of that perpetuity whereby the virtue of it does reach out itself through over all times, even from the beginning until the end of the world, and farther into everlasting. Wherefore there is no question of them which died in foretimes, before that Christ was born. Their salvation stands upon the very self same grace and redemption, which ours does. And hereunto is that to be referred which we do read to the Romans in this wise: “All have sinned, and be destitute of the glory of God”(Rom. 3.): but they be justified freely by his grace, by redemption which os in Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth to be the atone-maker by faith, by the means of his blood, to show his justice for the forgiveness of the sins, which were done before under the sufferance of God, to show his justice in this present time, &c. He called the sufferance of God, the time of the sufferance of God, whereby he spared the times of the ages past before, as it is mentioned also in the Acts: “Till the time of redemption and declaring of the justice came, whereby they which do believe in Christ are justified, and thy sins past, are forgiven,” (Acts. 17.). And to this purpose serves also those things which we do read in the Hebrews. “And therefore,” (says he) “he is the mediator of the new Testament, that by the means of death for the redemption of those transgressions, which were committed under the former testament, they wich be called, may receive promise of everlasting inheritance,” {Hebr. 9.). By this consideration we be given to understand, that salvation and life was not given to our forefathers, for any manner of lawish or any other kind of observations, nor for any holiness of life and justice, were it never so great, but for faith only in Christ to come, even as it is also unto us which do believe in the grace of the redemption already performed.

Sixthly, we must think also of that, to whom and to what purpose Christ has redeemed us. For as much as he has redeemed us not exempt from his right, but belonging unto his dominion, whereunto all things be worthily subject, which so ever were made by him, and from whom we slipped away by disobedience: it was manifest, that he has redeemed us unto him, so that we do now belong to the right of his propriety for two causes, that is creation, and his redemption. We be not in this point so redeemed, that we be free and at our own jurisdiction and arbitrariment: but that as the Apostle says, “Whether we live, or die, we be the Lords.” And here upon are gathered these things. First, that we be not at liberty to live unto ourselves, and to glory in our own will, as the Schoolmen do much reason the matter. Secondly, that it is not lawful for us to serve any other, than him which redeemed us. Thereof comes that saying of the Apostle: “You were bought for a ransom, see you be not the servants of men.” Thirdly, that it is not meet for us, to judge our brethren. “Who are you,” says the Apostle, “which judges another man’s servant? he stands or falls to his master.”

It is also very profitable to consider, to what end Christ redeemed us unto him. If he had redeemed us unto him. If he had redeemed us of purpose to have governance, we should have been redeemed by him for no other purpose, but to have a people whom he might rule at his pleasure. And this end of redemption should fall out of his commodity and not to ours. But for as much as the counsel and purpose of the eternal grace, is the beginning of this redemption, it is necessary that the end also pertain thereunto. And the nature of grace is the farthest of all things from self-love, seeking nothing less than his own commodity: Wherefore the respect of it can not be such, as should tend to the purpose of his own commodity. Therefore it follows that whereas we be redeemed by Christ, according unto the purpose of the eternal grace, it was done to this end, that it should profit us more than the redeemer: as the fruits of redemption does declare. For by this redemption we be made of servants and reconciled men, but sons also and heirs of God. The largeness of this grace does require, that we employ ourselves to holiness and justice, and that we be to our redeemer a people not only peculiar, but also unspotted. So the Apostle says: “Which gave himself for us, to redeem us from all wickedness, and to cleanse a people acceptable unto him, fervently given to all good works.” The sin was greater, whereby we fell into the bondage of sin and Satan growing still by increase of mischievous deeds & infinite ways of wickedness, it dd thrust down the nature of our kind even unto hell. This plenty of sin, the plenty of heavenly grace surmounted and exceeded, and sent a redeemer. Now I beseech you, who can sufficiently weigh how enormous the wickedness, malice, and unthankfulness of our heart must be, if after the great grace of redemption, we do this wrong and shame to Christ our redeemer, that we do run back to the field of the enemy that old Serpent, and ay down our necks, yea our bodies and souls, unto the old bondage, from whence we were delivered by the blood of the Son of God. They do grievously sin against this grace of the redeemer, which do refuse and contemn it when it is offered. But they do sin most grievously of all, which having received, and being sealed with the holy mark, do profane it in returning unto their vanity, do make a mockery of themselves unto Satan. These things concerning the redemption of mankind; I thought should do much good in godly minds, if they be godly and devoutly considered. The matter is exceeding large, and yet these few things which we have treated of, be such as may serve to good purpose towards the consideration of those points also which be not mentioned here. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 304-315.

2) So Christian men may also most rightly call the memory of the Lord’s death. This by the way of the name of the Gospel, in what sense it was used of men heretofore.

But as concerning Christian men, this name is so passed over unto them, that it is become unto them most frequent and common, and of good right also most proper and peculiar for nothing in all the world, from the beginning therefore unto the end, befell mankind thereof unto the same which began to be told and preached in every place through the whole world under the name of Christ. That is, that mankind is redeemed by the death of the only begotten Son of God, & that the forgiveness of all men’s sins and life everlasting, is ready for all them that do believe in him. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 337. [Compare Zanchi’s identical comment under “mankind redeemed,” entry #1, and Bucanus under “unlimited redemption, entry #4.]

Universal Reconciliation:

1) Eighthly, it [the Gospel] has this consideration also, that is is called the Word of reconcilement. For it does denounce [announce] that the reconcilement is made between God and mankind by Christ the Redeemer. So says the Apostle: “All things be of God, who reconciled us to him by Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” For God reconciled the world to him, not reputing their sins unto them, and did place the word of reconciliation in us, (2 Corinth. 5.). In this respect also it is called The Gospel of peace (Ephes. 6.). “Stand therefore,” (says he), “girding about your loins with the sword girdle of truth, and putting on the breast-place of justice, and with shoes upon your feet, that you may be ready to the gospel of peace. For of hence peace is denounced from God unto us: that we be reconciled to him by Christ, as many of us as do truly believe in him. And this is that peace of Christ which passes all perseverance, which the world can not give, but goes about to take it away, in that it offers peace of them which follow the world, and destruction to them that forsake it. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 340.

2) Eighteenthly, the Apostle calls the Gospel, The word of the Cross, when he says: “The word of the Cross is foolishness to them which do perish, but to them that be saved, it is the virtue of God.” It is called the word of the Cross, because it preaches of the Saviour crucified. By this speech the Holy Spirit does command unto us not only the history but also the virtue of the healthful cross, which the world condemns of foolishness, judging it to be the maddest matter in the world, to give credit unto that preaching, which declares everlasting life to be gotten by the death of the one crucified. And in these days there be some that seem to be not a little ashamed of the cross of Christ, which cannot abide the baseness of the flesh of Christ, and devise to apply certain godliness unto it, whereunto they do refer the whole grace of our redemption. But the Apostle did so stand upon the faith of the cross, that he said: “God forbid I should glory in anything but in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he judged that he new nothing among the Corinthians, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified,” (1 Corin. 2.). And to the Colossians: he says: that all things which are in heaven & in earth, are pacified by the blood of the cross”: So that this speech is applied to the Gospel as by the means of our redemption, which is perfected in the cross. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 345.

3) And to this sacrifice of Christ these two things do belong: Due that being once done, it cannot nor ought to be iterated and done again: the other is that it is effectual in the sight of God. Of these both the writings of the Apostle do testify. It is said that Christ the chief priest had not the like necessity as the old Priests had, to offer daily. Again we read, that he offered himself once, to the riddance of sin. But this man (says he) having offered but one oblation for sins, sits for evermore at the right hand of God. For by one oblation he has made them perfect which be sanctified. And this unity of this sacrifice does depend upon the efficaciousness and accomplishment of those things which it ought to perform. The old sacrifices, forasmuch as they were figurative and ineffectual, they were iterated and renewed daily. Wherefore the iteration of them declared their weakness and ineffectualness. What do they then, which do hold an opinion that the sacrifice of Christ ought to be made daily, not only memorially, but really also. The efficacy of the one only sacrifice of Christ, made at the altar of the cross, decays not in process of time, so that it must have need to be renewed: but as it was effectual even from the beginning of the world, so also after that it was performed once, it keeps the strength and efficacy thereof sure and unshaken, till the very end of the same. Being once offered, it reconciled the world to God the Father, it drive away our sins, it purged our consciences from dead and stinking sins, to serve the living God, and sanctified and made us perfect for evermore, and opened and entry unto us into the Holy Place to the throne of grace, that coming thereunto with boldness, we may obtain mercy and grace to our convenient aid. Thus much I thought to touch by the way of the sacrifice of our chief Priest. As considering the quality, unity, and perfection of it, we may learn to know and refuse the device of that Popish sacrifice. But let us return to the very priesthood of Christ. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 600-1.

4) We might make many kinds of the Anger of God, but we will be contented for this present to divide it into three, the general, temporary and everlasting anger.

The general anger is the same whereunto the whole posterity of Adam is subject through the original sin. Of this the Apostle makes mention, saying: “And we were by nature children of Anger, like as the rest also.” Here no man is excepted. As many as were partakers of the corrupt and sinful nature, be subject unto this anger of GOD, from which we be not delivered, but by our only mediator Jesus Christ. Of this comes all kinds of wretchedness, which does equally follow the condition of man, and sticks both to our mind & our flesh. And of that there should come the general condemnation also of all men, unless that God which was so moved unto wrath in Adam had reconciled the world unto himself in Christ: of which reconciliation see to the Corinthians. And of this the Apostle makes mention also to the Romans, saying: “And God recommended this love unto us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Therefore much the more being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved through him from anger. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 1039.

5) Whether the anger of God may be appeased, and how it may be appeased.

There is no less testimony of the Holy Scriptures that God is appeased & made forgetful, then that he is angry with sinners. He is merciful also whilst he is angry. “Thou art angry” (says the Prophet David), “and hast mercy upon us.” And in another place: “He will not be angry for evermore.” But because that according unto his goodness, as he is slow unto anger, for he is inclined also to pardon & to forgive. They that be of a naughty, hard, & fierce nature, can not relent that anger which they have once conceived, & so they be past all pleasing: for in them anger is changed into hatred, which they do not leave whilst they have any breath in their body. Such a nature is devilish, & proceeding out of the very fountain of malice, & most far from the nature of God, which as it is good & slow to anger, so it is also gentle & merciful, & changes anger not into hatred, but into grace. Thereof comes that so often in the Scriptures: “And the Lord was pleased.” They which do judge of God like as they of a man that is a king, & do measure his disposition by their own, be hardly persuaded, that his anger may be appeased: and therefore do fall either into contempt thereof, or else into desperation. Wherefore we must firmly believe, that he is soon pleased, as that he is angry with our sins. Now how he may be reconciled & pleased, we must not determine of our self, but learn this of his word. As touching the first general anger, wherein we be tied all naturally from Adam, whereof we spake before, the same was & is appeased & pleased by the blood of Jesus Christ our only mediator, & reconciler. “For God was in Christ,” says the Apostle, “reconciling the world unto him, not charging them with their sins.” Of this atonement we be made partakers by amending our life, & believing in Christ. Wherefore the Apostle added also, “we beseech you for Christ’s sake, be reconciled unto God.” For this cause he calls the ministry of the preaching of the Gospel, the ministry of reconciliation, saying: “And all is of God, who has reconciled us unto him by Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” . Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 1050.

Salvation Purchased for Mankind:

1) VI. Whether that when forgiveness of Sins is once gotten, it may be void again.

Unless that the grace of forgiveness be evermore firm and certain, our salvation cannot be firm and sure. For there is no other way to be saved by, if this fail and be void. Therefore it is necessary that sins once forgiven, are forgiven evermore: unless all that doctrine and promise of everlasting life and salvation purchased by Christ unto mankind, should be void which no Godly person can think. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 583.

Of General Interest:

1) By these and other like testimonies, it is manifest, that the same other mean whereby we do apprehend and take hold of the grace of Justification, is neither works, neither the worthiness of any quality of course, but faith in Christ, unto which our salvation and everlasting life also is attributed by many testimonies of the doctrine of the Gospel: which because we may find them everywhere, we will not allege them at this present. And they be to be understood not only of the historical faith, albeit that the same be requisite also, but of the same Faith, whereby in believing the promises of the Gospel, we do give up ourselves wholly, with sure trust unto Christ our Saviour and redeemer. For by this faith wherein we be joined unto Christ, we be discharged of our sins, we be delivered from the guilt of them, and we be justified and that freely by grace. Wherefore they do teach aright, which do call this faith, the sure trust, leaning to the promises of the Gospel. And we may find this in the sense of this word, not seldom, but very often in the Scriptures: where to believe is used, for to trust, and faith for trust: nor there is no other sense that does agree with this saying, when it is said faith does justify: for it is most manifest, that Justifying comes not by historical faith: for so the devil should be saved also, for he believes and doubt nothing of the history of Christ. Wherefore it must needs be, that we must understand that this saying is concerning the trust, whereby in believing we do assuredly trust in the promises of the Gospel, that we be redeemed by the blood of Christ and reconciled to God the Father. Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 547-8.

1Wolfgangus Musculus, Common Places of Christian Religion, trans., by Iohn Merton (London: Imprinted by Henry Bynneman, 1578), 304-315. [Editorial note: I have modernized some of the spelling and words. I have not included the marginal notes, and the Scripture citations in the center margins are not readable. The Hebrew font is not working so a bare transliteration will have to suffice.]
2The reader should recall that originally at-one-ment denoted reconciliation.

[to be continued]

This entry was posted on Monday, March 17th, 2008 at 7:06 am and is filed under For Whom did Christ Die?. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 comments so far


Perhaps it is better said that at-one-ment denoted complete reconciliation, so that forgiveness of sins is brought about. I know that you are echoing Dabney in your second editorial note (or footnote), but it should be noted that reconciliation has two possible connotations in scripture, and at-one-ment occurs when a man is reconciled to God.

March 18th, 2008 at 12:24 pm

I have updated the Musculus file. See the new headers, “sins of the world” and the new entry, #1 under primary source. I have also added #2 under unlimited redemption. This comment should be compared to the almost identical comment found in Zanchi (see Zanchius on the Death of Christ under the sub-header ‘mankind redeemed.”
And see also the two new comments under the new sub-header “universal reconciliation.”

April 10th, 2008 at 7:51 am

I have updated the Musculus file. See the #2 under Primary Sources: “Sins of the world.”

April 16th, 2008 at 7:22 am

I have updated the Musculus file above.

I have added the comment on salvation purchased for mankind; three “sins of the world” comments #s 3-5; and one universal reconciliatio comment #3.

April 18th, 2008 at 11:46 am

4 May 08: I have updated the Musculus file. See entries #s 6 and 7 under “Sins of the World.”

May 4th, 2008 at 6:32 pm

7 May 08: Updated again. Entry #8 under “Sins of the World.”

May 7th, 2008 at 7:30 am

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  1. Wolfgang Musculus’ Doctrine of Unlimited Atonement | Theology Online: Theology, Back to the Basics    Oct 10 2008 / 8am:

    […] He thus will say all mankind is redeemed. For those interested, you can read more from Bullinger here. This redemption refers to the sufficiency and merit of the price paid for all men. It is not a […]

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