1) And In the stating of this thesis we have a miserable confusion, as if these men delighted to fish in troubled waters. For when we say Christ dyed for us, our meaning is that Christ dyed for our good, and a benefite redoundes unto us by the deathe of Christ, now, it may be, there are diverse benefites redounding unto us by the deathe of Christ, and they of so different nature, that, in respect of some, wee spare not to professe, that Christ dyed for all, and in respect of others, the Arminians themselves are so farre from granting that he dyed to obteyn any such benefite for all, as that they utterly deny them to be any benefites at redounding to any by the deathe of Christ. Though we willingly acknowledge them to be benefites redounding to us by the death of Christ, albeit not redounding unto all, but only God’s elect. Now if this be true, is it not a proper course which this author takes in confounding things so extreamely different? And that it is so as I have sayde, I now proceede to shewe in this manner. We say, that pardon of sinne and salvation of soules are benefites purchased by the deathe of Christ, to be enjoyed by men, but how? not absolutely, but conditionally, to witt, in case they believe, and only in case they believe. For like as God doth not conferre these on any of ripe yeares vnles they believe, so Christ hath not merited that they should be conferred on any but such as believe. And accordingly professe that Christ dyed for all, that is, to obteyne pardon of sinne and salvation of soule for all, but how? not absolutely whether they believe or no, but only conditionally, to witt provided they doe believe in Christ. So that we willingly professe, that Christ had both a full intention of his owne, and commandment of his Father to make a propitiation for the sinnes of the whole world, so farre as therby to procure both pardon of sinne and salvation of soule to all that doe believe, and to none other being of ripe yeares, according to that Rom. 3:24. we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. v. 25. Whome God hath sett forth to be a propitiation (or reconciliation) through faith in his blood. But we further say, that there are other benefites redounding to us by the death of Christ, to witt, the grace of faith and of repentance. For like as these are the gifts of God wrought in us by his holy Spirit, so they are wrought in us for Christ his sake, according to that of the Apostle, praying for the Hebrewes, namely that God will make them perfect to every good worke, working in them that which is pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ. Now, as touching these benefites, we willingly professe, that Christ dyed not for all, that is, he dyed not to obtaine the grace of faith and repentance for all, but only for God’s elect; In as much as these graces are bestowed by God, not conditionally, least so grace should be given according to mens workes, but absolutely, And if Christ dyed to obteyne these for all absolutely, it would follow here hence that all should believe and repent and consequently all shoulde be saved.   William Twisse, The Doctrine of the Synod of Dort and Arles, Preface, pp. 15-17

2) Now for the cleering of the truth of this, when we say Christ dyed for us, the meaning is, that Christ dyed for our benefite. Now these benefites which Christ procured unto us by his death, it may be they are of different conditions, wherof some are ordeyned to be conferred only conditionally, and some absolutely. And therefore it is fit we should consider them apart. As for example it is without question (I suppose) that Christ dyed, to procure pardon of sinne, and salvation of soule, but how? absolutely, whether men believe or no? Nothing lesse, but only conditionally, to witt, that for Christs sake their sinnes shall be pardoned and their soules saved, provided they do believe in him.

Now I willingly confesse that Christ dyed for all in respect of procuring these benefits, to witt conditionally, upon the condition of their faith, in such sort that if all and every one should believe in Christ, all and every one should obteyne the pardon of their sinnes, and salvation of their soules for Christs sake. William Twisse The Doctrine of the Synod of Dort and Arles 3.1, pp. 143-144.

3) For as touching the benefite of pardon of sinne, and salvation procured by Christs death, we say that Christ dyed to procure these for all, and every one, but how? Not absolutely; for then all and every one should be saved; but conditionally, to witt, upon condition of faith; so that if all and every one should believe in Christ, all and every one shoulde be saved. . . .]

And if it appeare that but a small number believe and persevere in true faith, it is manifest in the issue, that but fewe are saved, and that albeit Christ dyed to save all and every one conditionally, yet he died to merit faith for a very fewe. Nowe what is become of this Authors riddle, and the pretended contradiction betweene these two propositions? William Twisse The Doctrine of the Synod of Dort and Arles 3.2, p. 152.

4) The truth is, we deny that Christ dyed for all, in as much as he dyed not to procure the grace of faith and regeneration for all, but only for Gods elect; and consequently neyther shall any but Gods elect have any such interest in Christs death, as to obteyne therby pardon of sinne and salvation, for Arminians themselves confesse, that this is the portion only of believers. But seing pardon of sinne and salvation are benefites merited by Christ, not to be conferred absolutely but conditionally, to witt, upon condition of faith; we may be bold to say, that Christ in some sense dyed for all and every one, that is, he dyed to procure remission of sinnes, and salvation unto all and everyone in case they believe; and as this is true, so way we well say, and the Councell of Dort might well say; that every one who heares the Gospel is bound to believe that Christ dyed for him in this sense, namely, to obtayne salvation for him in case he believe. William Twisse The Doctrine of the Synod of Dort and Arles 3.3, p. 165. Thanks to Marty.

5) Thus for the clearing of the terms, as touching the things Decreed. Secondly, observe I pray, which is of principal consideration, that here we have no cause at all specified, why he refuses to give them grace; cunningly leaving it to an improvident Reader to conceive, that the cause of the decree, which is here specified, to be the mere pleasure of God’s will, is indifferently applicable to the non giving of grace and glory, and to the shutting up under damnation as the cause thereof, which is a notorious imposture, yet I do not think this Author guilty of it, but others rather, who abuse their wits by cunning courses, to deceive the hearts of the simple. Amongst the Fallacies observed by Aristotle, there is one called Fallacia plurium interrogationum, as when many things are put together, and an answer is is required to be made, either affirmatively or negatively to them all, as if they were but one; when indeed the answer cannot be made aright, without distinction of things demanded, the one whereof perhaps requires an answer affirmative, the other negative. As for example, to instance as touching one Controversies here declined: We are often demanded, whether every one that hears the Gospel, be not bound to believe that Christ died for him? Now I say this phrase Christ died for me includes many things, as the benefits which arise unto me by the death of Christ, may be conceived to be many. But let these benefits be distinguished, and we shall readily answer to the question made, and that perhaps differently, as namely, affirmatively to some, negatively to others; as thus, Do you speak of Christ’s dying for me, that is, for the pardon of my sins, and for the salvation of my soul: I answer affirmatively and say, I am bound to believe that Christ died for the procuring of these benefits unto me in such manner, as God has ordained, to wit, not absolutely but conditionally, to wit, in case I do believe and repent. For God has not otherwise ordained, that I should reap the benefit of pardon and salvation, by virtue of Christ’s death and passion, unless I believe in him and repent. But if the question be made, whether I am bound to believe that Christ died for me, to procure faith and repentance unto me; I do not say, that I am bound, or that everyone who hears the Gospel, is bound to believe this.

Nay the Remonstrants nowadays, deny in express terms, that Christ merited this for any at all. I am not of their opinion in this; but I see clearly a reason manifesting, that Christ merited not this for all, no not for all and everyone that hears the Gospel. For if he had, then either he has merited it for them absolutely or conditionally. Not absolutely, for them all and every one of them should believe de facto, which is untrue; for the Apostle says, Fides non est Omnium: Nor conditionally for what condition I pay can be devised, upon the performance whereof, God for Christ’s sake should give us faith, and repentance? In like sort, of I am demanded whether God did decree, of the mere pleasure of his will, to refuse to give grace and glory unto some, and to insist upon them damnation. To this I cannot answer at once, there is being a Fallacy in the demand. But distinguishing them, I answer and say, that, as touching the point of denying grace, God does that of his mere pleasure; but as touching his denial of glory, and the inflicting of damnation, he does not decree to do these of mere pleasure, but rather merely for sin, to wit, for the infidelity and impenitency, and all the bitter fruits that shall proceed from them. So that Reprobation according to our Tenet rightly stated, is the decree of God partly to deny unto some, and that of his mere pleasure, the grace of the Father and Repentance, for the curing of that infidelity and hardness of heart, which is natural unto all, and partly to deprive them of glory, and to inflict damnation upon them, not of his mere pleasure, but merely for their final continuance in sin, to wit; in infidelity and impenitency, and all the fruits that proceed therehence. William Twisse, The Riches of God’s Love unto the Vessels of Mercy, consistent with his absolute hatred or reprobation of the Vessels of Wrath (Oxford, 1653), 1:5-6.

6) Twisse and Zanchi:

Thirdly therefore consider we the constant Doctrine of Divines, not that reprobates are bound to believe, but that all that hear the Gospel are bound to believe: but in what sense? Piscator says, as I remember, that the thing, which all such are bound to believe, is the Gospel; according to that Mar. 1. “Repent ye and believe the Gospel.” Now to believe the Gospel is one thing, the sum whereof is this, “That Jesus Christ came unto the world to save sinners;” but to believe in Christ is another thing, which yet this Author distinguishes not, though it appears by the course of his argumentation, that he draws to this meaning, and that in a particular sense, which is this, “to believe that Christ died for them;” as appears expressly in the latter end of this Section. And no marvel if this Author carry himself so confidently in this, being, as he is, armed with such confidence. But I am glad that in one place or other, he springs his meaning, that we may have the fairer flight at him, to pull down his pride, and sweep away his vain confidence: though we deal upon the most plausible argument of the Arminians, and which they think insoluble. My answer is; first, Look in what sense Arminius says Christ died for us, in the same sense we may be held to say (without prejudice to our Tenet) of absolute reprobation, that all who hear the Gospel are bound to believe that Christ died for them. For the meaning Arminius makes of Christ’s dying for us, is this, Christ died, for this end, that satisfaction being made for sin, the Lord now may pardon sin, upon what condition he will; which indeed is to die for obtaining a possibility of the redemption of all, but for the actual redemption of none at all.

Secondly, But I lift not to content myself and this; therefore, I farther answer, by distinction of the phrase dying for us, that we may not cheat ourselves by the confounding of things that differ. To die for us, or for all, is to die for our benefit, or for the benefit of all: Now these benefits are of a different nature, whereof some are bestowed upon man only conditionally (though for Christ’s sake) and they are the pardon of sin and Salvation of the Soul, and these God does confer only upon the condition of faith and repentance. Now I am ready to profess, and that, I suppose, as out of the mouth of all our Divines, that every one who hears the Gospel (without distinction between Elect and Reprobate) is bound to believe that Christ died for him, so far as to procure both the pardon of his sins, and the salvation of his soul, in case he believe and repent. But there are other benefits, which Christ by his obedience has merited for us, namely, the benefit of faith and repentance…

Now I demand from this Author can say truly, that this the constant opinion of our Divines, that all who hear the Gospel, whether elect or Reprobate, are bound to believe that Christ died to procure them faith and repentance. Nay does any Arminian at this day believe this, or can he name any Arminian that does avouch this? Now does himself believe this? If he does not, if he cannot show any Arminian that does, with what face can he charge this opinion upon us, as if we should extend the obligation to believe, much farther then the Arminians doe, whereas usually they criminate us, for not extending it so far as we should…

And here first I observe, Zanchy is not charged to maintain, that every hearer of the Gospel, is bound to believe, that he is elect in Christ unto faith and repentance, but only to salvation: that puts me in good heart, that Zanchy & I shall shake hands of fellowship in the end, and part good friends. Secondly I distinguish between absolute-Election unto Salvation and election unto Salvation-absolute. The first only removes all cause on man’s part of election, the latter removes all cause on man’s part of salvation. By cause of salvation I mean only a disposing cause, such as faith, repentance, and good works are, as whereby (to express it in the Apostle’s phrase) we are “made partakers of the inheritance of the Saints of light.” Now albeit Zanchy maintains as we do, that all the elect are absolutely elected unto salvation, there being no cause on man’s part of his election, as we learned: yet neither Zanchy nor we maintain that God does elect any unto salvation absolute, that is to bring him to salvation, without any disposing of him thereunto by faith and repentance. Now to accommodate that opinion of Zanchy, I say it may have a good sense, to say that every hearer is bound to believe, both that Christ died to procure salvation for him, in the case he do believe, and that God ordained that he should be saved, in case he do believe; where belief is made the condition only of salvation, not of the Divine ordination; and the confusion of these by the Arminians, does usually make then confident and insolent, and in a word, Magnas Tragaedias excitare. But take away the confusion of things that differ, their combs are cut, their locks are shorn, and they are bit as another man. Now having showed in what sense every hearer is bound to believe that Christ died for him, and in what sense not, let us consider of what worth this Author’s arguments are, breathing nothing but smoke and fire, I will not say, like the great potan, but like fell dragon; but I nothing doubt we shall pair his nails, and make him calm enough ere we have done with him, so that a child shall be able enough to lead him.

1. The first is, because it is God’s will that the shall not believe, because “it is his peremptory will, that they shall have no power to believe.” I answer, it is indeed the will of God’s decree, that is, he has decreed not to give any Reprobate a justifying faith, but hence it follows not, that both Christ has merited, and God has ordained, that as many as do believe shall be saved. For this, as I take it, is not usually account by our Divines a justifying faith, but rather it comes within the compass of such a faith, as is commonly counted faith historical. William Twisse, The Riches of God’s Love unto the Vessels of Mercy, consistent with his absolute hatred or reprobation of the Vessels of Wrath, (Oxford, 1653), 1:153-155. [Some of the spelling is modernized, and all typos mine as usual.]

7) Twisse on Sufficient Redemption Paid:

But to proceed; out of our Catechism you allege, that “God the Father made us and all the world;” now the Church our mother has taught us, that “God hates nothing that he has made.” The book of Wisdom says so indeed; but because of the little authority that book has in matter of faith from God our Father, therefore you charge us with the authority of the Church our Mother. Now you are ignorant, I suppose, whence the Church our mother takes this, which has its course among the Papists, as well as amongst us. And you know of what authority Aquinas is among the Papists; and what interpretation he makes of this place, though received to beg canonical Scripture among them, I have already showed out of his Summes: “God (says he) loves all things, inasmuch as he wills unto them some good or other: but inasmuch a he wills not a certain good to some, to wit, eternal life, he is said to hate them, and reprobate them,” (Aqin. in 4.). And indeed, “God saves both man and beast,” [Psal.36.6] as so the Apostle acknowledges him to be “the saviour of all men, but especially of them that believe,” (1 Tim. 4:10). And to process ingenuously what I think, I see no cause of controversy hereabout, if so be the question be rightly stated. For when we say, Christ died for mankind; our meaning is that Christ died for the benefit of mankind. Now let this benefit be distinguished and considered apart, and forthwith contentions hereabout will cease. For if this benefit be considered as the remission of sins, and the salvation of our souls; these being benefits obtainable only upon the condition of faith and repentance: As on the one side no man will affirm that Christ to this end, namely, to procure forgiveness of sin and salvation to all and every one, whether they believe or no; so on the other side, none will deny, but that he died to this end, that salvation and remission of sin should redound to all and everyone, in case they should believe and repent. For this depends upon the sufficiency of the price, which Christ paid to God his Father for the redemption of the world. But there be other benefits which Christ merited for us also, even the very grace of faith and repentance. For all God’s promises are Yes and Amen in Christ; and among these premises is, “the circumcision of the heart, the healing of our ways, of our rebellions,” (1 Co. 1:20, Deut. 30:6, Esa.. 57:18, Hos. 14:5.). These promises do include the grace of faith and repentance. Now consider ingeniously, did Christ die to this end, that the grace of faith and repentance should be bestowed absolutely or conditionally? Not conditionally, for before the grace of faith and repentance and regeneration comes, there is nothing to be found in man but works of nature. William Twisse, A Discovery of D. Iacksons Vanitie, (no place: no publisher, 1631), 526-527.

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2007 at 8:51 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.

4 comments so far


I have updated the Twisse file. Zanchi provides us with a source for Amyraut’s “conditional election” language. The emerging picture is that Amyraut reflects first generation Reformation theology more than his high calvinist opponents in some critical areas.

October 15th, 2007 at 9:55 am

I have updated my Twisse file.


December 26th, 2007 at 10:25 pm

I have updated the Twisse file with the extended quotation from pages 1:5-6, entry #5

January 10th, 2008 at 9:07 am

Twisse writes that God’s promise to save “whosoever believes in Jesus Christ” is given to the elect and reprobate alike

Riches of Gods love unto vessels of mercy, consistent with his absolute hatred or reprobation of vessels of wrath-2:170-81

March 2nd, 2012 at 1:27 am

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  1. Twisse on Zanchi ¦ Theology Online: Theology, Back to the Basics    Oct 12 2007 / 1am:

    […] more from our lovely Mr Twisse, see here. Recall that Twisse was the chairman of the WCF assembly at one point, and so his credentials are […]

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