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Calvin and Calvinism » Blog Archive » Thomas Ford (1598–1674) Westminster Divine on John 3:16

Thomas Ford (1598–1674) Westminster Divine on John 3:16

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in John 3:16


For proof hereof, I appeal to John 3:16, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him, should not perish.” Here’s enough said, to show, That God is not wanting to me, but that they are wanting to themselves. There’s provision made such, and so much, as none can perish, but they who refuse to make use of it. Whosoever believes on him, shall have everlasting life. What can be said or done more on God’s part? What constructions are made of this Scripture are many, I shall not mention, but shall give the sense of Calvin upon it. “The Love of God here testified,” (says he) “respects Humanum genus, mankind; and a note of universality is added, to invite all promiscuously to the partaking of this life, and to cut off all excuse, observe that, from such as believe not.” “For this purpose,” (says he) “the word [WORLD is used, to show, that though there be nothing in the world worthy of God’s love and favor, yet to show himself gracious to the whole world, he calls all without exception to the faith of Christ.” Indeed he says too, “That life eternal is offered unto all, so as notwithstanding faith is not of all.” And in this he confesses, the special grace of God to some particular persons.

Let it also be considered, That the word [WORLD] cannot rationally be taken in any other sense. For in the next verse, it is meant of the world, whereof some are saved, and some perish, (as Reverend Davenant observes) and that they who perish, perish only because they believe not on the Son of God. I shall not debate, what advantage the coming of Christ into the world brought to such, as make no use, reap no benefit by it. Certainly it states the question beyond all dispute, That as faith only saves, so unbelief only condemns, which is all I have to prove. For there’s not the least hint of any defect on Gods part, but all the fault is said on man alone, in not believing on the Son of God sent into the world, not to condemn, but to save it. And here let Calvin speak what he thought in this case: Certium quidem e, non omnes ex Christi morte fructum percipere: Sed hoc ideo fit, quia eos impedit sua incredulitas. In Ep. ad Heb. cap. 9. v. 27. “It is only by Infidelity, that all are not partakers of the benefits of Christ’s death.”

Thomas Ford, Autokatakritos, or, The Sinner Condemned of Himself (London: Printed for Edward Brewster, and are to be sold by Giles Widowes, at the Maiden-head, over against the Half-Moon, in Aldersgate-street, near Jewen-street, 1668), 46-47. [Some spelling modernized; italics original; square bracketed inserts original; and underlining mine.]

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