Richard Vines (1600-1655/6) on the Death of Christ

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in For Whom did Christ Die?


Sins of the world:

1) There is never a verse expresses it in so full words as that of Ephes. 1:19. speaking of the power of that he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, “This power wrought in you when you believed.” Read this verse, and consider it well, I think you will never hereafter look upon it with an easy thing to believe the exceeding greatness of power. Learned Divines observe there is an aggravation; the raising power, whereby Christ rose, was a great power; he lay under all the sins of mankind; the greatest stone lay upon his grace that ever a man had; every man lay dead to his own sins: Christ lay under all the sins of mankind in their full weight; that which went to raise Christ, and to roll away the stone, was a mighty power indeed; and the same is put out in you, whereby you are called out of darkness into light, and from a natural state to believe in Christ. Richard Vines, God’s Drawing and Man’s Coming to Christ, Discovered in 32 Sermons on John 6.44, (London: Printed for Abel Roper, at the Sun Against St. Dunstans Church in Fleet Street, 1662), 30.

2) How certain those that are elected are of their believing and coming unto Christ, by reason of this drawing of God, this is a resurrection, (so it’s called,) and truly as certain as the resurrection of the body, and ordinarily we hold it it certain that there shall be a resurrection of the body, it’s as certain that there shall be a resurrection of those that God has chosen unto Christ, though they be for the present dead, and, as the Apostle says, “far off”, nay, ‘tis as certain as the resurrection of Christ, when he was dead in the grace, and lay under the sins of mankind, a terrible stone to lay under, yet he was certain to rise again the third day, and the power toward the raising of those that believe is according to the working of the mighty power that wrought in Christ, Ephes. 1.18. now it’s said, that God “loosed the cords of Christ’s death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it;” Acts 2.24. so shall the cords of thy spiritual death be loosed also, if you belong to the election on the grace, though you be as dead and inanimate as Christ himself was, this will set you free, knock off the fetters of bondage from you, and all because there is a drawing of God, whereby you shall be made able to come, for “all that the Father gives me shall come to me,” Joh. 6.37. and Christ professes that he has the power given him, “that he should give eternal life to as many as God has given him,” John 17.2. Richard Vines, God’s Drawing and Man’s Coming to Christ, Discovered in 32 Sermons on John 6.44, (London: Printed for Abel Roper, at the Sun Against St. Dunstans Church in Fleet Street, 1662), 291-292.

Universal redemption:

1) That as God sends Christ to us, so he must draw us also to him, or else there can be no salvation: and this may be thus proved. Those that come not to Christ, cannot be saved by him; those of the world that are not drawn by this drawing of the Father, do not come to Christ: therefore they are not saved: The service that this Inference doth, is, this will beat down the thoughts of many thousands that rest in this empty plea: God hath sent Christ to die, and to redeem mankind; it is well, and the plea is good for encouragement to believe; but if this be all the consolation, if this be all you rest upon, Gods act in sending Christ, you are much mistaken; for the great question is, Hath God drawn thee to Christ? Thou pleads Christ’ mission: but Can thou make Gods traction of thee to appear? This is the great point that this doctrine preaches: as if Christ should say, It is true, My Father hath sent me, and I am come to you by his appointment, to shed my blood for you; but you must come to me if you will have life; and come to me you cannot, except you be drawn by the power of him that sent me; for no man can come to me except the Father draw him.

Whether of the two be most necessary to salvation; Gods mission of Christ, or Gods traction of man to Christ, is as I conceive, a trivial question, hardly coming into the Schools, which will tie a knot in any rush; for they are both equally necessary: as the Serpent on the pole in view to be look upon, and the eye to see it were both necessary for the recovery of them that were bitten by fiery Serpents: except God send Christ, there is no object of Faith: except God draw you to Christ, there is no act of Faith: And the necessity of the object and of the act, cannot without fondness be compared together; for both are in their kind necessary in the highest degree: the mercy and the grace of God are eminent in both: the Father his sending Christ, and the Fathers drawing of sinners unto Christ, they are both necessary. But yet this sending, and this drawing, are of distinct consideration in divers respects.

First, God sending Christ, sets up to sinful man the object of his faith. For though all the Scripture be the object of that they call the Catholic faith; yet peculiarly, Christ in the Scripture is the kernel and marrow of all the types in the Old Testament: Christ is the object of Faith whereby it justifies: For though the eye that looked to the brazen Serpent, could see many things besides; yet they could have no cure by the sight of any thing but that; this sets up to man the object of his Faith; Gods drawing, works in man the act of Faith: if Christ had not been sent, there had been no object to be believed on: If God should not draw sinners to him, there would be no faith to believe by: So that it would be as with Israel, if there were either no Serpent on the pole to be looked unto, or no eye to look up to it, the recovery of those bitten with the fiery Serpents would fail.

Secondly, Gods sending of Christ was in pursuance of his Covenant made with our Mediator: Gods drawing unto Christ, is in pursuance of his Covenant made with sinners in the Mediator. That there is a Covenant of God the Father with Christ Jesus, seems very probable: because there was a Covenant made with the first Adam; therefore also with the second: And this is intimated by Christ himself, in these words, John 17.4. I have finished the work that thou gave me to do. And in those, Heb. 10.9. Lo I come to do thy will O God. For there is that we call the Law, imposed upon our Mediator, that is the Covenant made with Christ. And Arminius in his Orations De Sacerdotio Christi, confesses this Covenant made with Christ, is very well expresst in these words, Isa. 53.10 When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin; therefore his soul was to be an offering: And the promise of the Covenant with Christ, that he should see his seed: this Covenant of God with the Mediator, what he should perform as Mediator, is pursued and brought to effect by God his sending of his Son: But the Covenant made with sinners in a Mediator, it is this, If you believe in, and come to this Lord Jesus whom he hath sent, you shall be saved: And this part of the Covenant is brought to effect and pursued by Gods drawing us to come to Christ: The want of making distinction between the Covenant with the Mediator, what he shall do, he shall make his soul an offering for sin: And what he shall have, he shall see his seed, he shall divide the spoil, take the captive out of the hands of the Devil: and between the Covenant with the sinner; where there are the same two respects; what he shall do, he shall come unto and believe in the Lord Jesus; and what he shall have, he shall be justified, saved, and recovered out of the hands of hell and damnation: How shall man be able to do this? saith God, I will draw him, for else he cannot come; for, No man can come to me except my Father draw him. I say, the not distinguishing of these two, breeds great confusion in the apprehensions of men about the Covenant.

Thirdly, Gods sending Christ, puts a difference between mankind and the Angels that sinned: But Gods drawing of man unto Christ, puts a difference between the elect and others. The speculation of which point, is of delightful and pleasant consideration. By sending Christ, he puts a difference between mankind, fallen and lapsed, and the Angels that fell; there was no cord let down from heaven to them, to draw them out of the pit into which they were fallen. By drawing unto Christ, he puts a difference between those that God will save, and those that he will not save; As many as were ordained to eternal life believed, Acts 13.48. To the Angels that sinned, Christ is not sent; there you see the love of God to mankind: And they that are not ordained to eternal life, are not drawn; that makes a distinction of men.

Fourthly, God in sending Christ doth not look at mans faith as antecedent, or required of man before God sends him: But Gods drawing man to Christ, works that faith whereby man is saved. Gods sending Christ, doth not look to faith at all, because Christ is sent to man yet resting in his unbelief; but that faith that is required to salvation, is wrought by Gods drawing, whereby he molds the heart of man to Christ; as by a familiar comparison may be instanced: The eye looking up, was not required to the setting up of the Serpent upon the pole: by Gods command it was set up, whether any man was stung or no; but looking up was required to the recovery of the person stung.

Fifthly, If God should have sent Christ, and required it of mans power, or left it to mans power, to come in and to receive him, there would not have been a man, as I conceive, saved. And his sending, which is Gods act, would have fallen short of its effect, without Gods drawing; because there would not have been faith found to have received and believed in him; for No man can, &c. and so Christ’s Kingdom had not been set up and built; there had no members been planted into this head. But the gift of Christ to and for men, being seconded by a power of bringing men in to Christ, gives effect and success; and therefore you shall find in the Gospel always, Gods giving of Christ to man, is seconded by the giving of the Spirit; that as we are redeemed, reconciled, and justified by Christ’s merit and blood; so we must also be enlightened, regenerate and sanctified by Gods Spirit; the one of these accompanies the other: And this power of the Spirit doth so certainly go along with Christ’s merit, as the the salvation of any man, that it is said, Have one, have both. For he that hath not the Spirit of Christ is none of his, Rom. 8.9. Because though Christ be sent by the mission of God, yet without this Spirit there is no drawing, no traction of man to be a partaker of Christ, as we have some adumbration or shadow. In Israel they are delivered from the destroying Angel by blood sprinkled on the door posts: And from the Egyptian slavery by a mighty hand; showing these two works in the delivery of man out of the slavery under which he lay: there is the work of Redemption, by the blood of Christ sprinkled upon him: and he must march out, be drawn out of sin by an out-stretched arm and mighty hand: these two must go together.

Sixthly, There is a general encouragement: you may call it Comfort, that arises to us from Gods sending Christ. For where there is no hope, there is no motion; where there is no encouragement to believe, there a man hath little heart: From Gods sending Christ to save you, there is encouragement; but the present Comfort, the special Consolation of a mans salvation, arises from the second particular of the two, that God hath drawn man to Christ Jesus; there is, I say, an encouragement that God hath sent Christ; that is, there is a salvability; men are made saveable from the curse and condemnation of the Law, under which they are involved: But the special comfort that they have to themselves in particular, must arise from this, that God hath drawn, and by converting grace, made them to believe in Christ: For this faith, this drawing of man to Christ, is both a pledge of salvation for the future, and a token of his election before-hand. And that which as it were doth couple both the poles together, the election of God, and the salvation of man; the one as a pledge because future; the other as a mark, or sign, because past; this is a comfortable point indeed. But certainly the point of sending Christ to make atonement for all, or of universal redemption, (let it be supposed) doth neither speak salvation nor election to any one in particular more then another; and therefore such silly souls, whether they be drawn by others, or through their own ignorance of the point, are mistaken and deceived, that do build the comfort of their salvation upon that, that God hath sent Christ for an encouragement to believe, and therefore they shall be saved; they do but build Castles in the air, that must be in the faith, and Christ must be in you, except you be reprobates, 2 Cor. 13.5. It is this drawing you to come to Christ that strikes the stroke; this teaching of God which teaches you to believe, that gives you the particular assurance of salvation. And therefore though God have sent Christ, yet there are thousands of reprobate and rejected persons in the world. It is Christ in you, and you in him by Faith, that strikes the stroke.

Seventhly, The point of Gods sending Christ affords sweet meditation; but the sense of Gods drawing they soul unto Christ, affords sweet consolation. In the one thou may see the love of God to the world; for God so loved the world, John 3.16. By the other thou may see his special love to thee; concerning which you find it written by the Apostle, Gal. 2.20. He loved me, and gave himself for me: No man can say this word me, until he be drawn unto Christ: And when is that? may some say; that is n0t my point now to handle, yet in brief I shall answer it.  Richard Vines, God’s Drawing and Man’s Coming to Christ (London: Printed for Abel Roper, at the Sun against St. Dunstans Church in Fleet-street, 1662), 187b-191a.   [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]  [Credit to Tony for the find.]

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2007 at 10:08 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.

2 comments so far


Updated Vines with another quotation

October 30th, 2007 at 2:34 am

Thanks to Tony Ive updated the Vine’s file. See his comment (above) on universal redemption and more.

June 29th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Leave a reply

Name (*)
Mail (will not be published) (*)