Joseph Truman (1631–1671) on the Death of Christ

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in For Whom did Christ Die?


1) 5. Though Christ’s death as a satisfaction, expiation, was the cause of no more to us than this, That, if we repent and believe, we shall be justified and saved, Satisfaction and Propitiation being only for sin: yet, considering this suffering of Christ, as a highly pleasing meritorious act, as a worthy voluntary undertaking for the Honor of God we may say, Christ did merit that God should give this Faith, work this Condition, and keep it in the Elect: for all would, notwithstanding this (and the easy reasonable terms made of their interest in it) through their own willful wickedness, have perished; and he deserved that his blood should not thus far be lost, as water spilt on the ground; but that he should have some fruit of the travel of his soul, in seeing a Seed, actually to honor, venerate, and adore their Redeemer. Though I must say, for the honor of our Redeemer in this great affair, He will have some reward in those that perish in that he did a wonderful kindness for them, it being only through their own chosen refusal, that they had no benefit by it. His Goodness and Grace is not therefore no Grace because men reject it. And to do a good and gracious act, is a reward and satisfaction in it self. And you may as well maintain, That, except God be ignorant, and know not that men will reject his mercy, he cannot be righteous and just in punishing them for it: which is contrary to the knowledge of the whole world; as to say, Except God be ignorant, and know not that they will through their wicked willfulness refuse his Mercy, his Grace and Mercy is no Grace and Mercy. If one of you take a long, tedious, and hazardous journey, to dissuade your friend from something you hear he designs to do, which you know will undo him, though he willfully persist, and will not be persuaded by you, and so is undone by it; yet he is bound to thank you all his life after, and your kindness ceases not to be kindness; and you have this satisfaction and reward, You did a kind act, though he reap no benefit. And suppose you might have prevailed with him, if you had there stayed longer with him, and taken more pains; yet your kindness ceases not to be a kindness because you did not greater kindness; since that which you did, would have been enough, had it not been for his willful obstinacy: And his after-ruing of his own folly, bears a loud testimony to, and tends to the honor of your kindness, Oh that I had hearkened to my Friend! How have I hated instruction, and would not incline mine ear to him that instructed me? They in Hell, if they would and could do as befits them, or as Christ hath deserved from them, would spend time as well in admiring the love of God, and the Redeemer, in this wonderful once offered and urged Kindness, as in ruing that they lost it through their own chosen willful madness. Some go on such grounds in speaking of these things, that (holding to their way) they must necessarily deny that sinners in Hell will ever rue, and befool themselves for their loss of salvation by Christ: But if any will hold so much power in man to receive Christ, as that they will rue it as their madness, and folly, and sin, to reject him, and perish by so doing; I can from that demonstrate (as clearly as I can do any thing) that this I now speak in this digression inevitably follows. Let me but ask you this, Was there no cause for Adam (when fallen from the benefit) to thank God for making that promise, Obey and Live; when as God might have annihilated him, notwithstanding his obedience, had it not been for that promise? And do you never thank God for it, though God knew he would fall? But to return: As Christ’s sufferings did not as an expiation or satisfaction, but as a highly meritorious act, deserve or obtain, that God should give greater things to those that believe, than Adam lost, for the honor of the Redeemer, and of this great work of Redemption: so, he did deserve, that God should cause some to believe; and so from eternity his death, foreseen or undertaken, was a cause, a meritorious cause or motive why God would, that is, decreed, to make some, and so, though more remotely, such particular persons, the Elect, to accept offered mercy and Christ, which they would otherwise (as others) have rejected. Some call this, the Covenant of Redemption; but it is an immanent act, and from eternity, and an elicit act of the will; and therefore is properly a Decree, and belongs to the Will of Purpose, and not to his Legislative will, his Rectoral Will. Methinks you may see hence, how it cometh to pass that we sometimes read of Christ’s dying for the world; and in other places that he laid down his life for his sheep; sometime, tasted death for every man, died for all; sometime again, gave himself for the Church; in one place, a Savior of the body; in another, a Savior of the world. He died for the Elect and World both, so far, that whosoever should believe on him, should not perish; but for the Elect, as they which were much in his eye, being those who certainly should believe, and so be actually saved. Though God and Christ did, as one says, æque intend this satisfaction, a propitiation conditionally applicable to every one; yet he did not ex æquo, as fully intend it for to be actually applied to every man. There is much of truth in that frequently cited passage of Ambrose, Christus passus est pro omnibus, pro nobis tamen specialiter passus est. Like that, a Savior of all men, especially of them that believe.

Will any dare to say, Here is nothing of grace or kindness to the World? Joh. 3. 16. He so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. V. 17. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. Cannot you see plainly here what is meant by the World, and that his first coming was to save it, though his second will be to take a severe account? V. 18. He that believeth on him, is not condemned; but he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he believeth not. Can you say, a sick man died, because he took not such a Medicine; when, if he had taken it, it would not have cured him? You cannot say, the Devils continue to be condemned, because they reject Christ; because, if they should accept him, they would still perish; for there was no satisfaction made for them: And may not the same be said of them that perish, if no satisfaction be made for them? So John 12. 47. If any man hear my words, and believe not (surely you will say this is mean of a non-elect man) I judge him not; for I came not into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world. Which reason would have no show of reason, except Christ came to save that man, except he be one of that World he came to save. If Election and Redemption were of the same latitude and strictness, you might as well say to sinners, Repent, for you are elected, for you are foreknown in the Scripture-sense, for you are given to Christ by the Father, in that special sense; as, Repent, for you are redeemed, Christ died for you; you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God with your bodies and spirits, which are his: But the Apostle would not venture to speak thus, You are elected; therefore repent, glorify God: for he should have spoken what he knew not to be true.

I will say no more but this here: Whether is it a more likely way to lay a foundation for Religion in this World, to encourage and draw men’s hearts to repent, return, to tell them Christ hath died for you, and hath obtained this of the Father for you, That if you return, you shall live, notwithstanding all your former sins; or, to say, Repent, return: for, any thing you know, Christ hath died for you; for any thing you know, he hath obtained this from God, That if you turn, you shall live; though it is ten to one he hath not: or however, we cannot tell whether he hath or no. And if he hath not, then as this is true, that if the Devils should repent and return, they should yet perish, because no Satisfaction was made for them; so if you should repent and believe, you should yet perish, because no Satisfaction made for you.     Joseph Truman, The Great Propitiation; or, Christ’s Satisfaction; and Man’s Justification by it Upon his Faith; that is, Belief of, and Obedience to the Gospel (London, Printed by A. Maxwell, for R. Clavell, in Cross-key Court in Little Britain, 1672), 212–220. [Some paragraph reformatting; some spelling modernized; and underlining mine.]

2) The only colorable objection (that is not virtually answered in what I have said), that I can call to mind, is only from John 17.

[v]9. “I pray for them, I pray not for the world.” Therefore surely (say some), he would not shed his blood for the world, for whom he would not pray. But would any be at pains to read that chapter, he may see that Christ speaks of himself, what he did in that particular prayer at that time, and that particular prayer to verse 20, was only for the Apostles; or at the most for them that were then actually believers. And verse 20, he prays for them that should afterward believe through their word; and so all that he prayed for there were actually believers, or looked on as such; and the substance of the petitions there can agree to none else, as keeping them in truth and unity &c.; and there is not one word in that prayer for God to cause any to believe: so that we may as well argue he never prayed for the conversion of any, because he did not in that prayer, and so never shed his blood for the conversion of any. But can any think that Christ wept over Jerusalem, never prayed for it; or that there were none but the elect that crucified him, when he prayed for his crucifiers. May we not with greater reason argue contrary thus. Surely he did at other times, though not in this particular prayer, pray for the world since he shed his blood for it.  All other other objections are reducible to this common one, “That it would be no kindness to die so as to purchase any, but the elect that actually would believe, “That if they believe, and turn they shall live,” because none else have the natural power to turn, to perform the condition, but they that have he actually causes to turn, and so it would be to mock them. Ans. I grant if this was true, it would be but to mock, as to say to a lame man, “If thou will turn, I will give,” (let this lameness come which way i will), but you see men have the natural power to perform the condition, and though they will fall short of the benefit through their wickedness, it does not follow it was no kindness: and cannot any one see, it would as much follow according to your way, that, it would be no justice in God to punish men for not performing the gospel-condition.       Joseph Truman, A Discourse of Natural and Moral Impotency (London: Printed for Robert Clavel; and are to be sold at the Sign of the Peacock in St. Pauls Church yard, 1675), 185-186.   [Some reformatting; some spelling modernized; and underlining mine.]

Credit to Tony for the find.

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