William Weeks (1783-1848) on John 17:9

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in John 17:9

William Weeks:

P[aulinus]. I cordially agree with you in this, and beg you will bear it in mind when we come, by and by, to see ” What God hath spoken,” as to the extent of the atonement. For the present I wish merely to consider your arguments. What is your fourth argument to prove that Christ died for the elect only?

A[spasio]. It is this: “Christ offered himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice in the office of a priest.” Now, “His priestly office is not performed for any by the halves.” Therefore “for whom Christ offered himself a sacrifice, for the same does he intercede. But he intercedes, it is agreed, for none but his own people ; therefore, he died for none but his own people.”

P. I grant that Christ is the priest of his people, and that he does not perform his priestly office for any “by the halves.” But to conclude from this that he will intercede for the salvation of all those for whom he died, is to take it for granted that he could not possibly die for any but his own people. It is to take it for granted, that he could not have any object in dying for any, unless he intended to save them. To assume this is to assume the very point in dispute. To assume the point in dispute, is what logicians call begging the question. It is usually considered an indication of a weak cause, and that the supporter of it feels it to be so.

A. Do you grant, then, that Christ intercedes for none but his own people?

P. No. I grant that he does not intercede for the salvation of any but his own people, for he did not intend to save any others. But he intended to secure the enjoyment of “many blessings and privileges “to the non-elect, as you grant. Now, if he intended by his death to obtain for the non-elect these blessings, I see not why it should be thought incredible that he should ask the Father to bestow them. He intended by his death to procure for the non-elect a period of probation and the offer of mercy: and I see not why it should be thought incredible, that, after having died to procure for them these blessings, he should ask the Father to bestow them.

A. But does not Christ say expressly, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given me?”

P. In that particular prayer he prayed for his disciples, and for none others. And he prayed for such blessings for them as are never bestowed upon any but his disciples. But this does not prove that when God bestows other blessings upon other men, he does not do it in answer to the requests of his Son. You beg the question, therefore, in both points of your argument. And besides that, you contradict what you had before granted, that “many blessings and privileges” are bestowed upon the non-elect, “in consequence of the mediation of Christ.” Mediation includes intercession as well as atonement. According to your own concession, therefore, he does, in some respects, intercede for the non-elect. What is your fifth argument?

William R. Weeks, “A Dialogue on the Atonement,” in The Atonement: Discourses and Treatises, ed., Edwards A. Park, (Boston: Congregational Board of Publications, 1868), 572-573. [First published in 1825.] [underlining mine.]

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