Objection 5. If the death of Christ be a benefit from the ordination of God, applicable to each and every man, then it may be said, that Christ made satisfaction for the sins of the whole human race. But this cannot be defended, without at the same time overthrowing the justice of God, since the idea of justice does not admit that the same sin should be punished twice. Suppose, then, that the death of Christ is a ransom, by which satisfaction was made to God for the sins of the human race, how can so many persons be called to account for the same by the justice of God, and be tormented with eternal punishment?

Reply 5. As to the major proposition, we think its consequence may be safely conceded. For the orthodox Fathers boldly assert that Christ made satisfaction for the sins of the human race or all of mankind. Thus Eusebius, (Evang. Demonstr. lib. x. in the preface) “It was needful that the Lamb of God should be offered as a sacrifice for the other lambs whose nature he assumed, even for the whole human race.” Thus Nazianzen (Orat. 2. in Pasch.) “The sacrifice of Christ is an imperishable expiation of the whole world.” Thus, finally (omitting others), Cyril (Catech. 13.), “He redeemed the whole world of mankind.” The same form of speaking is every where made use of in the Articles of religion of our Church of England, (Art. 2, 15, 31, &c.). Thus also those speak who endeavour to limit to the utmost this death of Christ. We adduced before the testimony of the Reverend Heidelberg Divine Pareus, who freely confesses in his judgment exhibited at the Synod of Dort, “The cause and matter of the passion of Christ was a feeling or sustaining of the wrath of God, incensed by the sin, not of some men, but of the whole human race.” A little afterwards, The whole of sin and of the wrath of God against it, is affirmed to have been borne by Christ.” Nor ought this to appear unsound, since this universal redemption, satisfaction, or expiation performed by the death of Christ, brings nothing more than an universal cause of salvation to be confirmed and granted to the human race by the Divine ordination; the benefit of which every individual may enjoy through faith required by the Gospel. We therefore call Christ the Redeemer of the world, and teach that he made satisfaction for the sins not of some, but of the whole world, not because that on account of the payment of this price for the sins of the human race, all mankind individually are to be immediately delivered from captivity and death, but because by virtue of the payment of this price, all men individually may and ought to be delivered from death, and, in fact, are to be delivered according to the tenor of the evangelical covenant, that is, if they repent and believe in this Redeemer.
To what is further urged, That it is contrary to justice to receive satisfaction or a ransom for the sins of the whole human race, and yet not to deliver them all from the punishment of their sins, but, notwithstanding this satisfaction, to adjudge many to eternal torments; I answer, That this would indeed be most unjust, if we ourselves had paid this price to God, or if our Surety, Jesus Christ, had so offered to God his blood as a satisfactory price, that without any other intervening condition, all men should be immediately absolved through the offering of the oblation made by him; or, finally, if God himself had covenanted with Christ when he died, that he would give faith to every individual, and all those other things which regard the infallible application of this sacrifice which was offered up for the human race. But since God himself of his own accord provided that this price should be paid to himself, it was in his own power to annex conditions, which being performed, this death should be advantageous to any man, not being performed it should not profit any man. Therefore no injustice is done to those persons who are punished by God after the ransom was accepted for the sins of the human race, because they offered nothing to God as a satisfaction for their sins, nor performed that condition, without the performance of which God willed not that this satisfactory price should benefit any individual. Nor, moreover, ought this to be thought an injustice to Christ the Mediator. For he so was willing to die for all, and to pay to the Father the price of redemption for all, that at the same time he willed not that every individual in any way whatsoever, but that all, as soon as they believed in him, should be absolved from the guilt of their sins. Lastly, Christ, in offering himself in sacrifice to God the Father in order to expiate the sins of the world, nevertheless submitted to the good pleasure of the Father the free distribution and application of his merits, neither was any agreement entered into between the Father and the Son, by which God is bound to effect that this death of Christ, which, from the ordination of God, is applicable to all under the condition of faith, should become applied to all by the gift of faith. We ought not, therefore, to deny that the offering of Christ once made is a perfect satisfaction for the sins, not of some men only, but of all; yet so that he who is simply said to have died for all, promises remission of sin through his death and salvation conditionally, and will perform it to those alone who believe. We will illustrate all these things by a similitude; Suppose that a number of men were cast into prison by a certain King on account of a great debt, or that they were condemned to suffer death for high treason; but that the King himself procured that his own Son should discharge this debt to the last farthing; or should substitute himself as guilty in the room of those traitors, and should suffer the punishment due to them all, this condition being at the same time promulgated both by the King and his Son, That none should be absolved or liberated except those only who should acknowledge the King’s Son for their Lord and serve him: These things being so determined, I enquire, if those who persist in disobedience and rebellion against the King’s Son should not be delivered, would any charge of injustice be incurred, because after this ransom had been paid, their own debts should be exacted from many, or after the punishment endured by the Son, these rebels should nevertheless be punished? By no means; because the payment of the just price, and the enduring of the punishment was ordained to procure remission for every one under the condition of obedience, and not otherwise. I shall add no more; it will be easy to accommodate all these things to our present purpose.

John Davenant, A Dissertation on the Death of Christ, (London: 1832), 374-377.

[Note: Davenant’s essential argument here is identical to that presented by Charles Hodge’s response to the same objection, that a universal and vicarious satisfaction for all sin precludes God from punishing any sinner. On another point, it is interesting to see these classic sources cited by Davenant. Credit to Tony.]

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