August 29, 2007

Joseph Bellamy on Double Payment

"Obj. 1. If Christ has suffered the penalty of the law, not only for the elect, but also for the non-elect, how can it be just that they themselves should be made to suffer it over again forever in hell?

Ans. Because Christ did not die with a design to release them from their deserved punishment, but only upon condition of faith; and so they have no right to the release, but upon that condition. It is as just, therefore, they should be punished, as if Christ had never died, since they continue obstinate to the last ; and it is just, too, they should have an aggravated damnation, for refusing to return to God, despising the offers of mercy, and neglecting so great salvation. (John iii. 16-19.)"

Ralph Wardlaw's Two Essays

Google books has a downloadable version of Ralph Wardlaw's Two Essays: I. On the Assurance of Faith II. On the Extent of the Atonement, and Universal Pardon (New York: Jonathan Leavitt, 1830). I have read and cited the latter essay a couple of times on my blog:

William Twisse (1578–1646) on Universal Redemption

The following quote appears to be from William Twisse, as contained in vol. 7 of The Works of Joseph Hall:
When we say Christ died for mankind, we mean that Christ died for the benefit of mankind. Now, let this benefit be distinguished, and contentions hereabouts will cease: for, if this benefit be considered as the remission of sins, and the salvation of our souls; these are benefits obtainable only, upon the condition of faith and repentance: on the one side, no man will say that Christ died to this end to procure forgiveness and salvation to every one, whether they believe and repent, or no; so, on the other, none will deny but that he died to this end, that salvation and remission should redound to all and every one, in case they should repent and believe: for this depends upon the sufficiency of that price, which our Saviour paid for the redemption of the world, £c. And to pay a price sufficient for the redemption of all and every one, is, in a fair sense, to redeem all and every one.
Footnote O reads: "D. Twisse in his Animadversions upon D. Jackson.—And, to the same effect, D Rivetius Disp. 6. de Redemptions.

Cited in "The Peace Maker" from The Works of Joseph Hall (Oxford: D.A. Talboys, 1837), 7:82.

Another quote like this from William Twisse can be found HERE, and several more HERE.

August 28, 2007

William Bates (1625–1699) on the Perfection of Christ's Sacrifice

"The perfection of his sacrifice is evident by its expiating universally the guilt of all transgressions. It is true, sins in their own nature are different; some have a crimson guilt attending them, and accordingly conscience should be affected; but the grace of the gospel makes no difference. The apostle tells us, that "the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin;" whatever the kinds, degrees, and circumstances are. As the deluge overflowed the highest mountains, as well as the least hills, so pardoning mercy covers sins of the first magnitude, as well as the smallest. Under the law, one sacrifice could expiate but one offence, though but against a carnal commandment; but this one washes away the guilt of all sins against the moral law. And in that dispensation no sacrifices were instituted for idolatry, adultery, murder, and other crimes, which were certainly punished with death; but under the gospel, sins, of what quality soever, if repented of, are pardoned. The apostle having reckoned up idolaters, adulterers, and many other notorious sinners that shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven, tells the Corinthians, that such were some of them; but they were sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. vi. 11. It is true, those who sin against the Holy Ghost, are excepted from pardon; but the reason is, because the death of Christ was not appointed for the expiation of it; and there being no sacrifice, there is no satisfaction, and consequently no pardon, Heb. x. 26. The wisdom and justice of God requires this severity against them; for if "he that despised Moses' law died without mercy, of how much sorer punishment shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite to the Spirit of grace?" Heb. x. 28, 29; that is, they renounce their Redeemer as if he were not the Son of God, and virtually consent to the cruel sentence passed against him, as if he had blasphemed when he declared himself to be so; and thereby out-sin his sufferings. How reasonable is it they should be for ever deprived of the benefits, who obstinately reject the means that purchased them!"

William Bates (1625–1699) on Christ's Sufficiency

"The devil makes his advantage of the timorous conscience, as well as of the seared: solitude is his scene, as well as the noisy theatre; and by contrary ways, either presumption or despair, brings sinners to the same end. He changes his methods according to their dispositions; the tempter turns accuser; and then such who had but a dim sight of sin before, have an over-quick sight of it, and are swallowed up in an abyss of confusion. The condition of such is extremely miserable. It is observed by those who are bitten with a mad dog, that their cure is extremely difficult, if not impossible; for being tormented with thirst, yet are so fearful of water, that the sight of it sometimes causes sudden convulsions and death. This is a significant emblem of a despairing soul: for when enraged conscience bites to the quick, the guilty person filled with estuations and terrors, ardently thirsts for pardon, yet fearfully forsakes his own mercies: whatever is propounded to encourage faith in the divine promises, he turns to justify his infidelity. Represent to him the infinite mercies of God, the unvaluable merits of Christ sufficient to redeem the lost world; it increases his despair, because he has perversely abused those mercies, and neglected those merits. The most precious promises of the gospel are killing terrors to him; as the sweet title of friend, wherewith our Saviour received Judas when he came to betray him, was the most stinging reproach of his perfidious villany. Thus it appears, how dangerous it is to delay repentance and reconciliation with God till sickness and a death-bed, when the remembrance or forgetfulness of sin, the sense or security of conscience, may be equally destructive."

Let not the reader be confused. Bates is affirming more than a bare, internal sufficiency--like the wealth of rich man who could pay (but actually doesn't) the ransom price of all of the lost world. Rather, Bates is affirming an external sufficiency of Christ to save all of lost humanity--which would be like a rich man who is not only intrinsically rich, but actually does pay the ransom price for all and therefore offers to free all under certain conditions.

Incidentally, those who ultimately perish after hearing the gospel were required to perform a condition (i.e., to believe/repent), but there can be no condition if there be no gift [see Richard Baxter's The Universal Redemption of Mankind (London, 1694), p. 247 for more on this]. Classical hypers saw this connection and rejected the idea that Christ was offered to the non-elect, since he in no sense died for them (the gift), as strict particularists maintain.

William Bates (1625–1699) on the Judgment of the Wicked

"But how dreadful will his coming in majesty to judgment be to the wicked! "They shall see him whom they have pierced," and with bitter lamentation remember the indignities offered to him. What excuses can they allege, why they did not believe and obey the gospel? Our Saviour revealed high mysteries, but confirmed them with great miracles. He required strict holiness, but offered divine grace to enable men to do his will. "He poured forth his Spirit upon them," but their hearts were as hard as the rocks, and as barren as the sands. Then he will reproach them for their insolent contempt of all the perfections of his Divine nature, and the bleeding sufferings of his human nature to reconcile them to God: for their undervaluing "neglect of the great salvation," so dearly purchased, and so freely and earnestly offered to them: for their obstinacy, that the purple streams that flowed from his crucified body, that all the sorrows and agonies of his soul were not effectual persuasives to make them forsake their sins: for their "preferring the bramble to reign over them," Satan the destroyer of souls, and ungrateful rejecting the true vine, the blessed Saviour, who by so many miraculous mercies solicited their love, and deserved their service; this will make the sentence as just as terrible, and the more terrible because just. This will exasperate the anguish, that the gospel shall be a "savor of death to them;" and the blessed Redeemer pronounce them " cursed," and despatch them" to everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels for ever." The judgment of the Redeemer will be more heavy than that of the Creator. For all the riches of his goodness which they despised, shall be the measure of their guilt and woes. All the means of grace used for their conversion, but frustrated by their perverseness, shall be charged upon their score. What consternation will seize the wicked, when ten thousand accusers shall rise up in judgment against them, and not one advocate appear for their defence? Satan will be ready to aggravate their sins above his own: for although the superior excellence of his nature and state did heighten his obligation, and consequently his disobedience to his Creator, and that he sinned of himself, derived a guilt upon him exceeding that of man's original sin, who was seduced to his ruin; yet in that justice was so quick and severe, that the angels after their sin were immediately expelled from their blessed habitation, no space of repentance was allowed; and no mediator interposed to obtain terms of reconciliation with the incensed Deity, their doom was final and irrevocable: but after our rebellious sin, the Son of God, such was his immortal love, was willing to be mortal to redeem sinful men, and freely offered himself a sacrifice to atone the divine displeasure: and a day of grace and long sufferance was granted, and many compassionate invitations were sent from heaven to soften their stony hearts: but they neglected and despised the grace of the gospel, and wilfully excluded themselves from mercy. In this respect they are more guilty than the fallen angels; and justice will revenge the abuse of mercy. Do they hope to soften the judge by submissions and deprecations? Alas! he will be inflexible to all their prayers and tears. The Lamb will be then a lion armed with terrors for their destruction. Or can they appeal to a higher court to mitigate or reverse the sentence? No, his authority is supreme, and confirmed by the immutable oath of God. Or, do they think to resist the execution of the sentence? Desperate folly! The angels, notwithstanding their numbers and strength, could not for a moment escape his revenging hand. The whole world of sinners is of no more force against his wrath, than the light dust against a whirlwind, or dry stubble against devouring fire. Or do they think, by a stubborn spirit, to endure it? Self-deceiving wretches! If the correction of his children here, though allayed, and for their amendment, make "their beauty and strength consume away as a moth," how insupportable will the vengeance be on his obstinate enemies?" Who knows the power of his anger ?" Who can sound the depths of his displeasure?"

William Bates, like his friend John Howe (see here, here, here and here), also advocated a Calvinistic form of universal redemption.

William Bates (1625–1699) on Regenerating and Common Grace

William Bates, who was close friends with Thomas Manton, Richard Baxter and John Howe, said the following:
And from hence we may distinguish between regenerating grace, and formal hypocrisy in some, and the proficiency of nature and power of common grace in others. A hypocrite in religion is acted from without, by mercenary base respects; and his conscience being cauterized, handles sacred things without feeling: a regenerate person is moved by an internal living principle, and performs his duties with lively affections. Natural conscience under the compulsion of fear, may lay a restraint upon the outward acts of sin, without an inward consent to the sanctity of the law. Renewing grace cleanses the fountain, and the current is pure. It reconciles the affections to the most holy commands," I love thy law because it is pure," saith the Psalmist.

A moral principle may induce one to abstain from sins, and to perform many praise-worthy things in conformity to reason. But this is neither sanctifying nor saving; for it only prunes sin as if it were a good plant, and does not root it up; it compounds with it, and does not destroy it. There may be still an impure indulgence to the secret lustings of the heart, notwithstanding the restraint upon their exercise. And many duties may be done on lower motives, without a divine respect to the commands and glory of God.

But renewing grace subjects the soul to the whole royalty of the law, uniformly inclines it to express obedience to all its precepts, because they are pure, and derived from the eternal spring of purity. It mortifies concupiscence, and quickens to every good work, from a principle of love to God, and in this is distinguished from the most refined unregenerate morality. In short, there may be a superficial tincture of religion from common grace, a transient esteem, vanishing affections, and earnest endeavors for a time after spiritual things, and yet a person remain in a state of unregeneracy. But renewing grace is a permanent solid principle, that makes a man " partaker of the divine nature," and elevates him above himself.
William Bates, "The Four Last Things," in Select Practical Works of Rev. John Howe and William Bates, ed. James Marsh (New York: G. & C. & H. Carvill, 1830), 477–478.
From hence it follows, that it is from the perverseness of the will, and the love of sin, that men do not obey the gospel. For the Holy Spirit never withdraws his gracious assistance, till resisted, grieved, and quenched by them. It will be no excuse, that divine grace is not conferred in the same eminent degree upon some as upon others that are converted, for the impenitent shall not be condemned for want of that singular powerful grace that was the privilege of the elect, but for receiving in vain that measure of common grace that they had. If he that received one talent had faithfully improved it, he had been rewarded with more; but upon the slothful and ingrateful neglect of his duty, he was justly deprived of it, and cast into a dungeon of horror, the emblem of hell. The sentence of the law has its full force upon impenitent sinners, with intolerable aggravations for neglecting the salvation of the gospel.
Ibid., 399.

August 25, 2007

George Whitefield (1714–1770) on Christ's Will and Desires

Fly to Jesus Christ that heavenly bridegroom. Behold he desires to take you to himself, miserable, poor, blind and naked as you are; he is willing to clothe you with his everlasting righteousness, and make you partakers of that glory, which he enjoyed with the father before the world began. Do not turn a deaf ear to me; do not reject the message on account of the meanness of the messenger.
George Whitefield, "The Wise and Foolish Virgins," Memoirs of Rev. George Whitefield, ed. John Gillies (New Haven:Whitmore & Buckingham and H. Mansfield, 1834), 482–483.


George Whitefield (1714–1770) on Common and Special Grace

My dear brethren, you have heard how far the foolish virgins went, and yet were answered with "Verily I know you not." The reason is, because none but such as have a living faith in Jesus Christ, and are truly born again, can possibly enter into the kingdom of heaven. You may perhaps live honest and outwardly moral lives, but if you depend on that morality, or join your works with your faith, in order to justify you before God, you have no lot or share in Christ's redemption. For what is this but to deny the Lord that has bought you? What is this but making yourselves your own Saviors? Taking the crown from Christ, and putting it on your own heads? The crime of the devil, some have supposed, consisted in this, that he would not bow to Jesus Christ, when the Father commanded all the angels to worship him; and what do you less? You will not own and submit to his righteousness; and though you pretend to worship him with your lips, yet your hearts are far from him : besides you in effect, deny the operations of his blessed Spirit, you mistake common for effectual grace; you hope to be saved because you have good desires, and a few short convictions: and what is this, but to give God, his word, and all the saints, the lie? A Jew, a Turk, has equally as good grounds whereon to build the hopes of his salvation. Need I not then to cry out to you, ye foolish virgins, watch. Beg of God to convince you of your self-righteousness, and the secret unbelief of your hearts ; or otherwise when the cry shall be made, "Behold the bridegroom cometh," you will find yourselves utterly unprepared to go forth to meet him. You may cry Lord, Lord; but the answer will be, "Verily I know you not."
George Whitefield, "The Wise and Foolish Virgins," Memoirs of Rev. George Whitefield, ed. John Gillies (New Haven: Whitmore & Buckingham and H. Mansfield, 1834), 481–482.
Perhaps there is not a word in the book of God that has a greater variety of interpretations put upon it than this little, this great word grace. I do not intend to fatigue you, or waste the time by giving you all. It will be enough in general to observe, that the word grace signifies favor, or may imply the general kindness that God bears to the world; but it signifies that here [Rev. 22:21], which I pray God we may all experience, I mean the grace, the special grace of the blessed God communicated to his people; not only his favor displayed to us outwardly, but the work of the blessed Spirit imparted and conveyed inwardly and most powerfully to our souls, and this is what our church in the catechism calls special grace; for though Jesus Christ in one respect is the Savior of all, and we are to offer Jesus Christ universally to all, yet he is said in a special manner to be the Savior of them that believe; so that the word grace is a very complex word, and takes in all that the blessed Spirit of God does for a poor sinner, from the moment he first draws his breath, and brings him to Jesus Christ, till he is pleased to call him by death ; and as it is begun in grace, it will be swallowed up in an endless eternity of glory hereafter.
George Whitefield, "A Faithful Minister's Parting Blessing—A Farewell Sermon," Memoirs of Rev. George Whitefield, ed. John Gillies (New Haven: Whitmore & Buckingham and H. Mansfield, 1834), 607–608.


Howe on Holiness and the Hope of the Life to Come

NKJ Psalm 17:15 As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.

NKJ 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

NKJ Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

In the words to the reader which preface his treatise on The Blessedness of the Righteous, John Howe says:
"Methinks men should be ashamed to profess the belief of a life to come, while they cannot behold without indignation, nor mention but with derision, that holiness without which it can never be attained, and which is indeed the seed and principle of the thing itself."

Incidentally, I also like John Howe's signature line on the same page:
"A well-willer to the souls of men."

That may also be a better way to describe God's well-meant gospel offer. In proposing and offering Christ through the gospel call to all men, God is a "well-willer to the souls of men." That precisely targets what the hyper-Calvinists cannot stand to think in the case of the non-elect, which is one of the reasons why their theology is so reprehensible.

August 23, 2007

Polhill and Seaman Connection

I found this comment in Meet The Puritans:
"Lazarus Seaman, who claimed to have known [Edward] Polhill from his childhood, testified to Polhill's intense, Puritan-minded piety."

Joel R. Beeke and Randall J. Pederson, Meet the Puritans (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), p. 482.

I find this interesting because both men (Polhill and Seaman) advocated a form of universal redemption. Seaman was one of the moderate men at the Westminster Assembly, along with Calamy, Vines, and Marshall. For a brief account of the debate at the Assembly from the perspective of a high Calvinist, see B. B. Warfield's The Westminster Assembly and Its Work (Still Waters Revival Books, 1991), pp. 138-147. I posted this section of Warfield's book on the Calvin and Calvinism list back in October 2, 2006. As one investigates Polhill's work The Divine Will Considered in Its Eternal Decrees (Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1998) from pages 113-211, one finds that he is familiar with the writings of the Saumur school of thought, as is Stephen Charnock (particularly in volumes 3 and 4 of Charnock's Works).

Beeke and Pederson on Davenant

In their new book, Meet the Puritans, Joel Beeke and Randall J. Pederson write the following about John Davenant:

“In 1618, Davenant became a royal chaplain. That same year, King James I chose Davenant along with three other delegates to represent the Church of England at the Synod of Dort. Davenant, a moderate Calvinist, took an active role in synodical deliberations. John Hales said Davenant defeated “learnedly and fully…certain distinctions framed by the [Arminian] remonstrants.” Johannes Bogerman, chairman of the synod, said that Davenant’s experience and skill in the “laws and histories” helped the delegates “better order their debates and votes.”

Regrettably, Davenant held to a “hypothetical universalism,” a mild form of universal redemption, attested to not only by James Ussher and Richard Baxter but also by Davenant’s A Dissertation on the Death of Christ, which he finished shortly after leaving Dortrecht. This treatise presents the view that Davenant defended at the synod. Ultimately, Davenant and the English delegates won synod over to the view that the debate on redemption must be worked out in terms of both sufficiency and efficiency, i.e., that Christ’s death was sufficient in terms of its intrinsic worth to save a thousand worlds, but was efficient or efficacious only for the elect. Davenant’s views went further, however, claiming that the Father and the Son had a conditional intention to save all, though that condition was not absolutely efficacious (see W. Robert Godfrey, “Tensions With International Calvinism: The Debate on the Atonement at the Synod of Dort” [Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, 1974], pp. 179–88).”

Joel R. Beeke and Randall J. Pederson, Meet the Puritans (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), p. 170.

I would like to make a few observations on this entry about Davenant:

1) Davenant is rightly called a "moderate Calvinist." I would prefer to call it classical Calvinism, since I deem him to be in Calvin's own position. For more on this label, see my An Explanation of a Few Calvinistic Labels.

2) Notice the bias in the book. When introducing Davenant's redemption views, it is prefaced by the term "Regrettably." There is a desire to prescribe and not merely to objectively describe various positions in this book. The bias is also evident in their entry on Edward Polhill. They write:
"The second work [in Polhill's recently republished Works (Soli Deo Gloria, 1998)], "The Divine Will Considered in Its Decrees," printed in 1673, explains the nature of God's will and the eternal decrees of election and predestination. In this treatise Polhill unfortunately argues for some form of universal redemption, much the same as John Davenant and John Preston do. John Owen, who read Polhill's work, critiqued him on this point, but still highly commended the book." Ibid., p. 482.

3) "Regrettably," Beeke and Pederson go on to mischaracterize Davenant's position. It is not a "hypothetical universalism." The universal aspect to Christ's death is a real universality. That is, Christ really did intend and suffer for the sins of the entire human race, according to the revealed will of God. There's nothing "hypothetical" about it. Usually this position is viewed by its opponents through some form of ordered decretalism (since they themselves adhere to ordered decretalism--either infra or supralapsarian), hence the "hypothetical universalism" description; as if God, in an antecedent decree, willed the salvation of all men through the death of Christ. But, seeing that none of them would believe, consequently decreed to save only the elect and give Christ to die for them alone. The "antecedent" decree is entirely hypothetical, which is not the way to view Amyraut, Davenant, Ussher or Baxter. For more on this, see my post on Amyraut and Ordered Decretalism. Some time in the future I will investigate Davenant's Animadversions...Upon a Treatise Intitled God’s Love to Mankind (1641. 536 pp.) to see if he adheres to a form of ordered decretalism.. Dr. Curt Daniel sells a copy of this work for $35. This work is not among those that are available online for free.

4) Again, "regrettably," Dr. Beeke and Pederson use misleading language when describing Davenant's sufficiency views. They speak of Davenant's view as saying "Christ’s death was sufficient in terms of its intrinsic worth to save a thousand worlds." An Owenist or high Calvinist has no problem affirming an infinite "instrinsic worth" to Christ's death. The point of Davenant is to affirm an EXTRINSIC (formal) or ordained sufficiency for all, since Christ really bore the penalty that was due every sinner (unlimited imputation), and not just the guilt of the sin of the elect alone (limited imputation). Davenant actually argues against a bare, material or mere instrisic sufficiency perspective. For more on that, read Davenant for yourself. See my post on Davenant's Sufficiency Distinctions. Ad fontes!

5) Also, Dr. Beeke and Pederson say that Davenant claimed that the Father and the Son had a conditional intention to save all, though that condition was not absolutely efficacious. This is true, but should not be controversial. Davenant is just affirming that God wills the salvation of all men on condition of faith. What is controversial is Davenant's willingness to call God's revealed will an "intention." Moreover, when Amyraut and others maintained that God conditionally decreed the salvation of all men, he was using the term "decree" in the legislative sense, not in the sense of God's efficacious will [For more on this, see F. P. van Stam's doctoral thesis The controversy over the theology of Saumur, 1635-1650 (Amsterdam: APA-Holland University Press, 1988)]. He, therefore, was also just affirming God's universal saving will. All orthodox Calvinists affirm God's universal saving "will," but not all refer to that will as an "intention," since that term, in their view, connotes something efficacious, as with the term "purpose." I have no problem with such language since I think God acts on his revealed will by pleading with men to believe in the gospel call through his people, and even sends his Son to redeem all men sufficiently (paying their ransom price), as Calvin and Vermigli maintained. It is, as Dabney says in his Indiscriminate Proposals, an "active principle" in God's will. Davenant is no more extreme (which "goes further" seems to suggest in the quote above) or imbalanced than the early Reformers and church fathers.

August 19, 2007

An Edwardsian Invitation

At the end of Jonathan Edwards' sermon on The Wisdom of God, Displayed in the Way of Salvation, he begins to exhort unbelievers to come to Christ. Here are some of his concluding remarks:
And if all this be not enough to draw us, the wisdom of God has ordered more. It has provided us a Savior that should offer himself to us in the most endearing relation. He offers to receive us as friends. To receive us to an union to himself, to become our spiritual husband and portion forever. — And the wisdom of God has provided us a Savior that woos in a manner that has the greatest tendency to win our hearts. His word is most attractive. He stands at our door and knocks. He does not merely command us to receive him, but he condescends to apply himself to us in a more endearing manner. He entreats and beseeches us in his word and by his messengers.

III. The wisdom of God has contrived that there should be all manner of attractives in the benefits that Christ offers you. There are not only the excellencies of the person of Christ to draw you to him, but the desirable benefits he offers...
Jonathan Edwards, "The Wisdom of God, Displayed in Salvation," in The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1992), 2:156.

Notice carefully how Edwards speaks of God himself offering through Christ and His messengers. When we indiscriminately preach the gospel, the main point is that God himself is offering salvation to all through us. In this offer of salvation that God gives, he "entreats," "beseeches, "woos," "draws," "provides" and "knocks." In other words, He himself is sincerely offering Christ to all that hear the external call of the gospel. Neither does Edwards make a false either/or dilemma fallacy by saying that the gospel is a command, not an offer. To his mind, it is both a command and an offer, since scripture also portrays God as condescending to beseech and entreat sinners to come to himself and close with Christ's proposals.

A tendency among some hyper-Calvninists is to complain about others (such as myself) appealing to men in church history to demonstrate their Calvinistic orthodoxy. They claim they only want to discuss the bible. Then, after you speak as Edwards does above about the gospel call, they say "you're an Arminian," or close to being one. That is an historical claim. They do not want to be challenged on their historical assertions when they make them (because they're without a defense), so they quickly seek to change the subject and piously say, "we just need to discuss scripture," even as they continue to make historical claim after historical claim.

While discussing the well-meant gospel offer, they also like to change the subject to their own willingness to preach the gospel to all, since they don't know who the unbelieving elect are. That's a very common evasive move. The main point is that God himself, who knows the difference between the unbelieving elect and the non-elect, is making sincere offers of Christ to all of them, even seeking their compliance to the proposal (i.e. their ultimate well-being).

As a final note, our own indiscriminate gospel proclamations and offers should not be grounded in our ignorance as to who is elect and who is not. We are to evangelize because it is God's will that all obey or comply with the gospel commandments. It is the knowledge of God's revealed will that should drive our evangelistic endeavors, not our ignorance of His secret will. Our missionary activity should be a way of conforming ourselves to the very heart of God's own missionary interests. If we want unbelievers to repent and be saved, especially those we most love, it is only because the Holy Spirit first moved us to desire such a thing. This is the same Spirit that moved Paul to say:

NKJ Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.

He's talking about all of Israel, and not merely the elect within Israel. To desire the salvation of all is a godly or God-like quality to which we should be conforming ourselves. Seeking the salvation of the lost glorifies God because we're displaying His virtuous qualities to one another and to the lost world. This is a part of what it means to be fruitful and to multiply.

Thomas Watson (c.1620–1686) on Common Grace

4. The fourth counterfeit оf sanctification is restraining grace, when men forbear vice, though they do not hate it. This may be the sinner's motto, 'Fain I would, but I dare not.' The dog hath a mind to the bone, but is afraid of the cudgel; so men have a mind to lust, but conscience stands as the angel, with a flaming sword, and affrights: they have a mind to revenge, but the fear of hell is a curb-bit to check them. There is no change of heart; sin is curbed, but not cured. A lion may be in chains, but is a lion still.

5. The fifth counterfeit of sanctification is common grace, which is a slight, transient work of the Spirit, but does not amount to conversion. There is some light in the judgment, but it is not humbling; some checks in the conscience, but they are not awakening. This looks like sanctification, but is not. Men have convictions wrought in them, but they break loose from them again, like the deer, which, being shot, shakes out the arrow. After conviction, men go into the house of mirth, take the harp to drive away the spirit of sadness, and so all dies and comes to nothing.
Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity Contained in Sermons Upon the Westminster Assembly's Catechism (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1992), 244. This was the first book published by the Trust and one of the best sellers. It contains a "Brief Memoir of Thomas Watson" compiled by C. H. Spurgeon.

This book may also be downloaded and searched for free here (click).


August 18, 2007

David Brainerd (1718–1747) on John 1:29 and Christ's Sufficiency

II. Considered how and in what sense he 'takes away the sin of the world:' and observed, that the means and manner, in and by which he takes away the sins of men, was his 'giving himself for them,' doing and suffering in their room and stead, &c. And he is said to take away the sin of the world, not because all the world shall actually be redeemed from sin by him; but because, (1.) He has done and suffered sufficient to answer for the sins of the world, and so to redeem all mankind. (2.) He actually does take away the sins of the elect world.
From the "Life and Diary of the Rev. David Brainerd," in The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1992), 2:374.

Observe the following in the quote above:

1) The 'taking away' is the 'doing and suffering' of Christ in the stead of the 'world'.

2) This does not mean that all the 'world' shall be redeemed (the non-elect are viewed as a subset of the 'world') in the sense of being finally saved (redemption applied), but only that Christ suffered sufficiently for the world so to redeem all mankind (redemption accomplished, or paying the ransom price for all mankind).

3) By saying this, Brainerd clearly uses 'world' to mean all apostate humanity on earth, i.e. all mankind.

4) He affirms that only the elect will be finally redeemed (i.e. have the redemption applied to them), which occurs when they believe.
And, secondly, I frequently endeavoured to open to them the fulness, all-sufficiency, and freeness of that redemption, which the Son of God has wrought out by his obedience and sufferings, for perishing sinners: how this provision he had made, was suited to all their wants; and how he called and invited them to accept of everlasting life freely, notwithstanding all their sinfulness, inability, unworthiness, &c.
Ibid., 2:432.

Observe in the above quote how Brainerd associates free gospel invitations with the sufficiency, suitability or ample provision of Christ's obedience and sufferings.

These theological conceptions were part of what was driving David Brainerd to fervent missionary activity among the American Indians. His free invitations for the unbelieving Indians to come to Christ could only make sense if Christ had suffered sufficiently for them, which Brainerd affirms.


Charnock on Head and Heart Knowledge

"There is an excellency in divine knowledge that cannot be discovered by the tongues of men or angels; an experience and spiritual sensation renders a man more intelligent than all discourses can. As the natural sense best judgeth of sensible objects, so doth the spiritual sense of divine. He that hath tasted honey hath a more lively knowledge of it than the most learned man that never tasted the sweetness, or felt the operations of it. Nor can any conceive so clearly of the excellency of the sun, by the discourses of the richest fancies, as by seeing its glory and feeling the warmth of its beams. A man's own sense will better inform him of the beauty of the heavens than the elevated reasonings of philosophers. Divine truth acted upon the heart, and felt in its influence, is more plainly known than by discourse and reason. I would rather have the feeling which a sincere soul hath of God, than all the descriptions of him by a notional apprehension. One is knowledge in the notion, the other in reality; the one is the effect of well-educated nature and common grace, the other the fruit of a spiritual eye-salve, Rev. iii. 18, and an inward breathing; the one is a shining upon the head, the other a shining into the heart, 2 Cor. iv. 6."

Stephen Charnock, "A Discourse on the Knowledge of God," in The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock (Edinburgh, 1865), 4:21.

August 17, 2007

John Davenant’s (1572–1641) Writings

All of these English works can be read, downloaded, and searched for free.

An Exposition of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians by John Davenant, Josiah Allport—1832 This edition contains his excellent Dissertation on the Death of Christ toward the end (see pages 317–569 in the pdf), unlike the Banner of Truth edition that was recently published.

James Ussher's (1581–1656) Body of Divinity

I just discovered that James Ussher's A Body of Divinity, or The Sum and Substance of Christian Religion can be downloaded HERE.

John Howe (1630–1705) on Common Grace

John Howe (1630-1705)After speaking of the efficacious work of the Spirit in regeneration (special grace), John Howe, "a much-neglected Puritan," cautions his listeners not to make the mistake of presuming on the Spirit and making light of the purpose of common grace.
And here, there needs a caution too, as well as in reference to the former head. Some may be apt to apprehend; if this work is wrought and done, by such an irresistible power, to which no opposition can be made; what need we trouble ourselves; when God will do such a work, he will do it: it will never be in our power to hinder it, and we need never be afraid, that we shall. To this it may be said, and it ought to be seriously considered; that though there is no possibility of such resistance to that influence by which this work is done, wheresoever it is done, which could have prevented the doing of it; yet there are many previous workings, in order to it, wherein the Spirit of God is frequently resisted; that is, the workings and operations of common grace, which lead and tend to this special work of grace. And here lies the great danger, when in these common precursory works of the Holy Ghost, which have a tendency in them to this work, and by which it is gradually moving on; they may resist and oppose themselves, to a total, utter, eternal miscarriage. The Spirit of God in this work, can never be resisted; but so as that it will certainly overcome and effect its work. But we must know that he is a free Agent; and there is reason to apprehend there is the same reason in chusing the degree of operation, as there is of the subject. It doth not only work where it listeth; but to what degree it listeth of power and efficacy : and when it is working but at the common rate, then it suffers itself many times to be overcome, and yields the victory to the contending sinner. You see what the charge was upon the people of Israel by Stephen, Acts 7- 51. Ye stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ear; ye do always resist the Holy Ghost as your fathers did, so do ye. It is remarkable to this purpose what this blessed man charges that people with; that this was the genius of that people from age to age, from one generation to another. Ye do always resist, &c. The same spirit of enmity and contrariety is still propagated and transmitted from one age to another, your fathers are like their fathers, and their fathers like theirs; and so run on back as far as you will; they were always a people resisting and contending against the Holy Ghost: as the complaint was against them not long before, Isai. 63. 10. They rebelled and vexed his Spirit, therefore he turned and fought against them, and became their enemy. And that this is the common temper, is most evident, and was so even in the more early ages of the world. My Spirit shall not always strive with man, Gen. 6. 3. That striving implies a resistance. There is great danger of resisting the Spirit of God, when it is in that method and way of operation, wherein it many times yields to the resistance. It is as if he should say to the sinner; " Because thou hast so great a mind to get the day, and deliver thyself from under the power of my grace, get that unhappy victory, and perish by it.
John Howe, "The Office and Work of the Holy Spirit, in Every Age, with Reference to Particular Persons: Considered in Several Sermons on John. III, 6. and Gal. v. 25," in The Posthumous Works of the Late Rev. John Howe, ed. John Hunt (London, 1832), 23–24.

The Whole Works of the Rev. John Howe in 8 Volumes may be downloaded by clicking here as well.

August 15, 2007

Calvin on Head and Heart Knowledge

"The next thing necessary is, that what the mind has imbibed be transferred into the heart. The word is not received in faith when it merely flutters in the brain, but when it has taken deep root in the heart, and become an invincible bulwark to withstand and repel all the assaults of temptation. But if the illumination of the Spirit is the true source of understanding in the intellect, much more manifest is his agency in the confirmation of the heart; inasmuch as there is more distrust in the heart than blindness in the mind; and it is more difficult to inspire the soul with security than to imbue it with knowledge. Hence the Spirit performs the part of a seal, sealing upon our hearts the very promises, the certainty of which was previously impressed upon our minds."

The other day in a chat room, I watched and listened to some "Calvinists" (who have been soo exceedingly humbled by the "doctrines of grace" of course--NOT!) mock another chatter for making a distinction between head and heart knowledge. I mentioned how the distinction can be seen in Jonathan Edwards and in Blaise Pascal. It just means that someone can have a mere intellectual apprehension of some truth without it impacting their affections and lives. This is why some speak of a "dead orthodoxy." So, while the distinction between head and heart knowledge can be abused by some, that does not negate the truthfulness of it. Moreover, Calvin himself makes the distinction as seen in the quote above.

August 11, 2007

Thomas Manton (1620–1677) on Common Love and Special Love

[4.] If they are committed against love. It is sad to sin against God's laws, it is more to sin against God's love. Suppose it be but against common love, against God that giveth us food and raiment, rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons. The apostle calls this a ' despising the goodness of God,' Rom. 2:4, either by employing it to vile uses, or else by a careless slighting and not taking notice of it. You that slight the kindness of God do as it were say, God shall not gain me to his ways for all this. Every sin is not committed against knowledge, but every sin is against love and bowels. Christ may say to every sinner, as he said to the Jews, John 10:32, ‘Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do you stone me?' Thus the Lord may plead, I have given you protection and provision, and food and raiment, for which of these do you violate my law and put such an affront upon me? It is I that have been so liberal to you, in giving you the fruits of the earth, the fish of the sea, the fowls of the air; it is I that have caused your sheep to bring forth thousands, and your fields to yield meat; and will you return upon me with my own weapons? Malefactors are punished in the same things in which they offend, and you seek to do me despite by my own blessings, as if I did you wrong when I did you good. But much more if you sin against special love. You that are Christ's favourites, every sin of yours is as a stab at the heart of mercy; as when the multitude forsook him, says Christ to his disciples, John 6:61, 'Will ye also go away?' That went to his heart. God reckoneth upon you that he shall have much service and obedience from you, and disappointment is the worst kind of vexation: Gen. 18:19, ' I know Abraham, that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord;' Isa. 63:8,' Surely they are my people, children that will not lie.' That which in others is but single fornication in you is adultery; others sin against common mercies, but you against the bowels of Christ; they are not thankful for a piece of bread, nor you for the bread of life. As Absalom said to Hushai, 2 Sam. 16:17, ' Is this thy kindness to thy friend? ' so is this the fruit of all those tender loves and mercies which God hath meted out to you ? It is unnatural, as if a hen should bring forth the egg of a crow.
In the above quote, notice that Thomas Manton distinguishes between "common love" and "special love". "Common love" consists of receiving food, raiment, rain (you can see allusions to Matt. 5:44-45), fruitful seasons, the "goodness of God" in Romans 2:4, the kindness of God, knowledge (in general, of God's law and His ways), protection, provision, fruits of the earth, fish of the sea, fowls of the air, increase in livestock and in farming. These are all called "blessings." Thus, for Manton, common grace is "common love" and this at least consists in the reception of all the "blessings" above. This grace also involves the Father, Christ and the Holy Spirit wooing, pleading (even "begging") and alluring all to salvation through the gospel, as I have shown in earlier posts.

Thomas Manton (1620–1677) on Sinning Against the Sweetness of Grace

[6.] If it be against former experiences, and that either of the sweetness of grace or the evil of sin.

(1.) Of the sweetness of grace: The Lord takes it ill that you should sin against him after 'you have tasted his good word,' Heb. 6:5. It is a mighty affront to Jesus Christ to go off from him after we have had experience of the sweetness of his ways. The apostle calls this a 'denying the Lord that bought them,' 2 Peter, 2:1; that this, in foro ecclesiae, in the court of the church, and with respect to the outward covenant that is between the Lord and every church member. An apostate doth as it were proclaim to the world that Jesus Christ is no good master; that, after he hath made trial of both, the devil is a better master than Christ, for he seemeth to have known both masters. So we find the Lord contests with his people about their provocations: Jer. 2:5, 'What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanities, and are become vain?' You have gone far from me, and departed from my ways; what is the matter? Did I ever do you hurt? have I ever been a land of darkness to you, or a hard master ? So Micah 6:3, ' O my people, what have I done unto thee, and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.' When we go off from God, we do as it were proclaim that we have found just discouragement in the ways of Christ, as a man that goeth off from you showeth his expectation is deceived in you.
Thomas Manton, “Sermons on Genesis xxiv. 63,” in The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, D.D. (London: James Nisbet, 1874), 17:330.


Thomas Manton (1620–1677) on Refusing God's Grace

To refuse the Father's riches of wisdom and grace, the Son's self-denial and sufferings, is the greatest ingratitude that can be. When all the labours and wooings of the Spirit are in vain, it is the greatest spite we can do to God; it is the greatest profaneness to set light by holy things, especially this great mystery, when we do not think it worthy our care and thoughts, Mat xxii. 5.

Thomas Manton (1620–1677): Damned by Desert, Not by A Mere Decree

It is good to observe the tenderness of the scripture when it speaketh of the execution of the decree of reprobation, that they may not cast the blame upon God: their damnation is not cast upon his decree, but their own deservings. You may see the like difference, Rom. ix. 22, 'Endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.' But then, ver. 23, 'The vessels of mercy which he hath aforehand prepared unto glory.' He endureth the one, but he fitteth and prepareth the other; he created them, and permitted them to fall in Adam, justly hardeneth them for refusing his will, but themselves prepare their own hell, by their natural corruption and voluntary depravation, following their lusts with greediness. Speaking of the elect, it is said he hath prepared; but of the reprobate, it is said he is fitted. The reprobates bring something of their own to further their destruction, pravity and naughtiness of their own; every man is the cause of the curse and eternal misery to himself, but God is the cause and author of the blessing: 'Thy destruction is of thyself, but in me is thy help found.' The elect have all from God; he prepareth them for heaven, and heaven for them, without any merit of theirs. The reprobate is not damned simply on God's pleasure, but their own desert; before he would execute his decrees, there is an interposition of their sin and folly.

Thomas Manton (1620–1677) on God as Loving, Yet Eternally Punishing

Object. 2. But how can it stand with God's love and mercy to punish his creature for ever? Our bowels are troubled if we should hear the howling of a dog in a fiery furnace for a small space of time. Now God is love itself, 1 John iv. 8; therefore surely he will not damn his creature to everlasting torments.

Ans. Man is not fit to fix the bounds of God's mercy, but the Lord himself; therefore take these considerations:—
1. God's punishments may stand with his mercy. It is very notable, in one place it is said, Heb. x. 31, 'It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God;' but in another place it is said, 2 Sam. xxiv. 14, 'I am in a great strait; let us fall now into the hands of the Lord, for his mercies are great.' The one noteth God angry, the other God appeased. When God hath been long upon a treaty of love, patience abused is turned into fury. The one showeth what God is in himself, love, sweetness, mercy; the other, what he is when provoked. The sea in itself is smooth and calm, but when the winds and tempests arise, how dreadfully it roareth. God's attributes must not be set a-quarrelling. He is love and mercy, but he is also just, and true, and holy. If he were not angry for sin, he should not love his justice, make good his truth, manifest his holiness, and so hate himself. If God should pardon all sins, his abhorrency and hatred of sin could not be manifested, and so he would lose the honour of his infinite holiness; therefore in men and angels he would declare his displeasure of it, and no less hatred of the sinner. God saw it best for his own glory to suffer some to sin, and by sin to come to punishment. Therefore do not wallow in thy filthiness, and think that God will be all honey, that mercy wilt bear thee out. He hath said that Hare and drunkards shall have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. If God is merciful, and yet did such things to Christ, certainly he may remain merciful much more, and yet punish thee.

Thomas Manton (1620–1677) on the Damned Remembering Grace

The Damned in hell cannot accuse God for want of mercy; it will be a part of their torment in hell to remember that God hath been gracious; conscience will be forced to acknowledge it, and to acquit God. Though they hate God and blaspheme him, yet they will remember the offers of grace, riches of goodness, and care of his providence: ‘They will not see, but shall see,’ Isa. xxvi. 11. Oculos quos occlusit culpa, aperiet pœna. As now when God bringeth carnal men under mercies, it is one of the greatest aggravations.

Thomas Manton (1620–1677) on the Justice of Eternal Torment

Object. 3. How can it stand with his justice to punish a temporary act with eternal torment or punishment?

Ans. 1. We are finite creatures, and so not fit judges of the nature of an offence against God; the lawgiver best knoweth the merit of sin, which is the transgression of the law. The majesty against which they sin is infinite; the authority of God is enough, and his will the highest reason. A jeweller best knoweth the price of a jewel, and an artist in a picture or sculpture can best judge of the errors of it.

2. With man, offences of a quick execution meet with a long punishment, and the continuance of the penalty in no case is to be measured with the continuance of the act of sin. Scelus non temporis magnitudine, sed iniquitatis magnitudine metiendum est. Because man sinneth as long as he can, he sinneth in ceterno suo (as Aquinas), therefore he is punished in aeterno Dei. We would live for ever to sin for ever, and because men despise an eternal happiness, therefore do they justly suffer eternal torment; and their obligations to God being infinite, their punishment ariseth according to the excess of their obligations.
Thomas Manton, “Sermons on Matthew XXV,” in The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, D.D. (London: James Nisbet, 1872), 10:81–82.


August 10, 2007

Various Commentators on 1 John 4:14

NKJ 1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.
"Here is another summary of the gospel, expressed this time not in the form of a permanently valid proposition, like 'God is love', but in the form of a historical statement in the light of which the validity of the proposition is seen. The designation 'the Saviour of the world' is peculiar to the Johannine writings in the New Testament; in addition to its single occurrence in the First Epistle it occurs once in the Gospel (John 4. 42), on the lips (significantly enough) of Samaritans, who had no interest in promises which were attached to the tribe of Judah but great interest in promises which spoke of a world-wide salvation. As earlier, where he speaks of Christ as 'the propitiation...for all the world' (1 John 2. 2), so here John ascribes the widest scope to the saving purpose of God."

F. F. Bruce, The Epistle of John (Eerdmans, 1988), p. 111.
"Much Christian truth is contained in the straightforward affirmation of this verse. Here is the essence of the gospel. The world means sinful society, estranged from God and under the dominion of the evil one (cf. v. 19). Its urgent need was to be rescued from sin and Satan. And the Father 'so loved the world' (John iii. 16) that He sent the Son, His dear and only Son, to be its Saviour. The perfect tense of the verb (apestalken, lit. 'has sent') points not just to the historical even of the sending, but to the purpose and result of it, namely the salvation of the world. Further, within this statement of the gospel all three of the apostle's tests are implicitly contained, doctrinal (it was the Son Himself whom the Father sent), social (God's love is clearly seen in the sending of His Son, 9, 10, 16, thus obliging us to love each other) and ethical (if Christ came to be our Saviour, we must forsake the sins from which He came to save us). It is clear, then, that John's tests are not arbitrary. He has not made a random selection. They arise inexorably from the central Christian revelation. The mission of Christ manifests both His divine Person, God's great love and our moral duty. Once grasp the truth of verse 14, and we shall confess Christ, love one another and keep the commandments."

John Stott, The Epistles of John (Eerdmans, 1975), pp. 166-167.
"The noun σωτήρ, "savior," appears in John's writings only here and in John 4:42. In extrabiblical Greek the term was used of pagan gods, of men such as physicians, and of kings or emperors. In Scripture, the term is used of judges who delivered the Israelites from their enemies (Judg. 3:9, 15), of God (Isa. 45:15), and of Christ (16 times in the New Testament). Here in 4:14 the term is parallel with ζήσωμεν δί αύτου, "we might live through him" (4:9), and ίλασμόν περί των άμαρτιων ήμων, "propitiation for our sins" (4:10). In other words, Christ delivers from death and from the wrath of God against sin.

John again makes it clear that Christ's salvation is not limited in its sufficiency and its availability (cf. 2:2). He was sent to be "the Savior of the world"--the whole world. (See 1 Tim. 2:3-4.) However, it is man's unbelief that prevents God's desire from being realized. Τού κόσμου is used here, as in John 3:16, to refer to the world of humanity, lost and in need of the Savior."

Donald W. Burdick, The Letters of John (Moody Press, 1985), p. 329.
"The heart of the apostolic witness was "that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world" (hoti ho patēr apestalken ton huin sōtēra tou kosmou). The acceptance of this message is the test of doctrinal orthodoxy. The assertion that "the Father sent the Son," although indicating the deity of both, continues the concept of a loving personal relationship which prompted the Son's redemptive activity. The perfect tense (apestalken) declares the abiding significance of the sending of the Son: "to be the Saviour of the world." The term "the Saviour" (sōtēra), used without a verbal form, is the predicate accusative, "sent as Saviour"; it describes what He is, not merely what He was sent to do. The salvation He wrought is inseparably connected with His person as the unique Son of God. "The world," as the object of His redemptive mission, "means sinful society, estranged from God and under the dominion of the evil one (cf. v. 19). Its urgent need was to be rescued from sin and Satan." The scope of His saving work is comprehensive--all humanity, not merely the "enlightened Gnostics" or the chosen Jewish people. "There is no limit but the willingness of men to accept salvation by believing on the Saviour."

In the New Testament the designation "the Saviour of the world" occurs only here and on the lips of the Samaritan believers on John 4:42. In classical Greek the term "saviour" was applied both to the gods and to men. In the Roman imperial cultus it was employed as one of the titles of the emperors, who often is applied both to God the Father and to the Son. The term is applied to the Father as the originator of the plan of salvation, who sent the Son into the world "that we might live through Him" (v. 9); the Son as the Saviour is the one who wrought our salvation through His atoning death and victorious resurrection. The term is not directly applied to the Holy Spirit, but the Father sent the Spirit to effect God's salvation in our hearts and lives (Gal. 4:4-6; Rom. 8:9-11). In verses 13-14 John accordingly mentions all three Persons of the Trinity in connection with his portrayal of redeeming love."

D. Edmond Hiebert, The Epistles of John (Bob Jones University Press, 1991), pp. 208-209.

F. F. Bruce (1910–1990) and J. C. Ryle (1816–1900) on John 4:42

NKJ John 4:42 Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."

Bruce wrote:
He was not only the prophet like Moses, but also the Saviour of the world. This title appears twice in the Johannine writing (the other instance being in 1 John 4:14); it is in line with the statement of John 3:17, that God sent his Son into the world 'in order that the world might be saved through him'. The use of the title in this context suggests that the Samaritan mission represents the first outreaching of Jesus' grace beyond the confines of Judaism.
F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John (Eerdmans, 1989), 116.

Ryle comments:
Whether the Samaritans clearly understood what they meant when they spoke of our Lord as "the Saviour," may be reasonably doubted. But that they saw with peculiar clearness a truth which the Jews were specially backward in seeing that He had come to be a Redeemer for all mankind and not for the "Jews" only, seems evident from the expression "the world." That such a testimony should have been borne to Christ, by a mixed race, of semi-heathen origin, like the Samaritans, and not by the Jews, is a remarkable instance of the grace of God.
J. C. Ryle, Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker, 1979), 3:250.

Elsewhere I stated the following:

The idea of this passage is not to focus on what God has secretly determined to do through the appointed Savior, but that Christ should be the appointed Savior to whom all of apostate humanity (the "world"), Jew and Gentile alike, should look for salvation. So, the sense of "world" does not connote the elect, or even an abstract class of thing without involving all the particulars of that class. It references ALL of apostate humanity on the earth at any given point, and Christ is to be their appointed means of salvation. "Savior of the world" speaks to his office (or title) as mediator, as well as to what he wills to do for humanity. It further spells out what is means for him to be "Christ."

August 6, 2007

William Jenkyn (1612–1685) on God's Love

"1. There is a love of God to man, though without passion, sympathy, or any imperfection or weakness; these being attributed to him only to relieve the weakness either of our faith or apprehensions. And this love is,

(1.) Considered as a love of desire; as love desires to be carried to the union of the thing beloved. This desire of union with man God shows many ways; as 1. By being near unto, nay, present with him, by his universal care and providence; he being "not far from every one of us: for in him we live," &c., Acts xvii. 27, 28. 2. By assuming the nature of man into a personal conjunction with himself in the Mediator, Christ. 3. By conversing with man by signs of his presence, extraordinary visions, dreams, oracles, inspiration; and ordinarily by his holy ordinances, wherewith his people, as it were, abide with him in his house. 4. By sending his Holy Spirit to dwell in man, and bestowing upon man the Divine nature. 5. By taking man into an eternal habitation in heaven, where he shall be ever in his glorious presence, Psal. xvi. 11.

(2.) There is a love of God to man, considered as a love of benevolence, or of good-will, or of willingness to do good to the thing beloved: what else was his eternal purpose to have mercy upon his people, and of saving them, but, as it is expressed concerning Jacob, this loving them? Rom. ix. 13. And to whom can a will of doing good so properly agree, as to Him, whose will is goodness itself?

(3.) There is a love of God to man, considered as a love of beneficence, bounty, or actual doing good to the thing beloved. Thus he bestows the effects of his love, both for this life, and for that which is to come. And the beneficence of God is called love; "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God," 1 John iii. 1. And John iii. 16, "God so loved the world, that he gave," &c. By this love of beneficence he bestows the good things of nature, grace, and glory. God does good to every creature, hating, though the iniquity of any one, yet the nature of none; for the being of every creature is good, Gen. i. 31, and God has adorned it with many excellent qualities. According to these loves of benevolence and beneficence, God loves not his creatures equally, but some more than others; inasmuch as he wills to bestow, and also actually bestows, greater blessings upon some than upon others. He makes and preserves all creatures, but his love is more especially afforded to mankind; he styles himself from his love to man, Tit. iii. 4, and not from his love to angels, or any other creature. He is called φιλάνθρωπος, a lover of man, but never φιλάγγελος, or φιλόκτιστος, a friend of angels or creatures without man. His love is yet more peculiarly extended to man in creating him after his own image, Gen. i. 27, and in giving him lordship over the creatures, Psal. viii. 5; in giving his Son to take upon him man's nature, Heb. ii. 16, and exalt it above heavens (Matt. xxviii. 18) and angels, to die for sinning, dying man; offering him to man in the dispensation of the gospel with wooing and beseechings. And yet of men he loves some more especially and peculiarly than others; namely, those whom he loves with an electing, calling, redeeming, justifying, glorifying love. God loves all creatures, and among them the rational, and among them the members of his Son, and much more the Son himself.

(4.) There is a love of God to man, considered as a love of complacency, and delight in the thing beloved. He is pleased through his Son with his servants; and he is much delighted with his own image wheresoever he finds it. He is pleased with the persons and performances of his people: "He hath made us accepted in the Beloved." "The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him," Psal. cxlvii. 11. They reflected his excellencies, and showing forth his virtues; he rejoicing over them with joy, and resting in his love, Zeph. iii. 17: accounting a believer amiable; his soul, a lesser heaven; his prayers, melody; his sighs, incense; his stammerings, eloquence; his desires, performances."
William Jenkyn, An Exposition Upon the Epistle of Jude (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1863; repr. Minneapolis, MN: James & Klock, 1976), 36.


August 5, 2007

William Jenkyn (1612–1685) Quotes on God's Grace, Love, and Christ's Offer

Obs. 1. Grace whereby we are changed, much excels grace whereby we are only curbed. The sanctification wherewith the faithful were said to be adorned, was such as cured sin, as well as covered it; not a sanctification that did abscondere, but abscindere; not only repress, but abolish corruption. The former, restraining grace, is a fruit only of general mercy over all God's works, Psal. cxlv. 9; common to good and bad, binding the hand, leaving the heart free; withholding only from some one or few sins; tying us now, and loosing us by and by; intended for the good of human society, doing no saving good to the receiver: in a word, only inhibiting the exercise of corruption for a time, without any real diminution of it; as the lions that spared Daniel were lions still, and had their ravenous disposition still, as appeared by their devouring others, although God stopped their mouths for that time. But this sanctifying grace with which the faithful are here adorned, as it springs from God's special love in Christ, so it is proper to the elect, works upon every part in some measure, body, soul, and spirit, abhors every sin, holds out to the end, and is intended for the salvation of the receiver. It not only inhibits the exercise of corruption, but mortifies, subdues, diminishes it, and works a real change; of a lion making a lamb; altering the natural disposition of the soul, and making a new man in every part and faculty.
William Jenkyn, An Exposition Upon the Epistle of Jude (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1863; repr. Minneapolis, MN: James & Klock, 1976), 12.
Obs. 5. Every one should covet to be interested in the benefits of the gospel. They are freely bestowed. It is easy to know a house where alms are freely distributed, by the crowding of beggars: when money is freely thrown about the streets at the king's coronation, how do the poor thrust and tread one upon another! There is no such crowding about a tradesman's shop: why? here poor people must pay for what they have. But, alas, men act quite contrary in a spiritual respect, they throng after the world, which makes them pay for what they have dearly, and neglect Christ, who offers all they want freely. Why is it that the kingdom of heaven suffers not more violence? The world is not bread, and yet it requires money; Christ is bread, and requires nothing but a stomach! Pity those who, for lying vanities, forsake their own mercy. Call others to partake of this grace with thee; eat not thy morsel alone. Say, as those lepers did, This is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace. Hast thou received this grace? wish all men were like to thee, they sins only excepted. When beggars have fared well at a rich man's door, they go away, and by telling it, send others: tell to others how free a housekeeper thy God is; so free that he most delights in comers and company.
William Jenkyn, An Exposition Upon the Epistle of Jude (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1863; repr. Minneapolis, MN: James & Klock, 1976), 90.

For Jenkyn's teaching on the love of God for mankind, see page 36 in the above exposition on Jude.


August 4, 2007

Thomas Manton (1620–1677): A Heart to Know

5. He that hath a heart bent to do the will of God, he hath the clearest knowledge of the mind of God: John vii. 17, 'He that will do the will of God, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.' It is not the sharpness of parts that pierceth into a truth, especially into a controverted truth, when the dust of contention is raised; but he that is most close in walking with God, it is he that knoweth his mind. A blunt iron, when hot and in the fire, will pierce deeper into an inch board than a sharper tool that is cold; so a man that hath pure affections for God, a heart to do the will of God, pierceth deeper many times into controverted truth, and sees more of the mind of God in that truth than a man of parts doth. There are many mistakes about the will of God. Now make conscience of obedience, do not consult with the interest of your own private passions, and then you shall know the mind of God. It is just with God to withhold the light from them that consult with their lusts and interests and carnal humours, for these blind the mind, and only like and dislike things as they shall relish with their lusts.

J. C. Ryle (1816–1900) on Thomas Manton (1620–1677)

Manton held strongly the doctrine of election. But that did not prevent him teaching that God loves all, and that His tender mercies are over all His works. He that wishes to see this truth set forth should read his sermon on the words, “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son” (John 3:16), and mark how he speaks of the world.
J. C. Ryle, “An Estimate of Thomas Manton,” in The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, D.D. (London: James Nisbet, 1871), 2:xvii.

Flynn, over at Theology Online, has posted "a wee snippet" of Manton on John 3:16. Manton writes:
1. The word by which the object is expressed is ‘the world’ which noteth mankind in its corrupt and miserable state: 1 John v. 19, ‘The whole world lies in sin.’ The world is a heap of men who had broken God’s law, forfeited his love and favour ; they neither loved nor feared God, but were unthankful and unholy; yet this world God loved

(2.) No worthiness in us; for when his love moved him to give Christ for us, he had all mankind in his prospect and view, as lying in the polluted mass, or in a state of sin and misery, and then provided a Redeemer for them. God at first made a perfect law, which forbade all sin upon pain of death. Man did break this law, and still we break it day by day in every sin. Now when men lived, and went on in sin and hostility against God, he was pleased then to send his Son to assume our nature, and die for our transgressions. Therefore the giving of a Redeemer was the work of his free mercy. Man loved not God, yea, was an enemy to God, when Christ came to make the atonement: 1 John iv. 10, ‘ Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins;’ Col. i. 21, ‘And you that were sometimes alienated, and enemies in your minds by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.’ We were senseless of our misery, careless of our remedy; so far from deserving, that we desired no such mattter. God’s love was at the beginning, not ours.
Thomas Manton, “Sermon XVI: John III:16,” in The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, D.D. (London: James Nisbet, 1871), 2:340, 341–42.

Flynn comments on Manton:
For those not in the know, Manton is mostly famous for writing a dedicatory letter for the Westminster Confession when it was published shortly after the original publication.

Thomas Manton (1620–1677) on Offers of Grace

But how do we wrong grace? I answer—five ways—

1. By neglecting the offers of grace. Such make God speak in vain, and to spend his best arguments to no purpose: 2 Cor. 6:1, 'We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.' By the grace of God is there meant the offers of grace in the gospel. Now, we receive it in vain when all the wooings and pleadings of grace do not move us to bethink ourselves and look after our salvation. It is a great affront you put upon God to despise him when he speaks in the still voice. Look, as when David had sent a courteous message to Nabal, add he returns a churlish answer, it put him in a fury: 1 Sam. 25: 34, ' Surely there had not been left by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.' So how angry will the Lord be against those that despise his grace, and all the renewed offers and messages of love, and prefer the profits and pleasures of the world before him. It may be you do not return a rough and churlish answer, and are not scorners and opposers of the word, but you slight God's sweetest message, when he comes in the sweetest and mildest way. The complaint in the gospel was, Matt. 11:17, ' We have piped unto you, and you have not danced.' It is not, We have thundered unto you, and you were not startled; but, We have piped, and ye have not danced. Not to take notice of these sweet allurements and blandishments of grace, that is very sad: Heb. 2: 3, ' How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?' The greatness of the benefit aggravates the sin. It is great salvation that is offered; there is an offer of pardon and eternal life, but it worketh not if you neglect it. There is a sort of men that do not openly deny, reject, or persecute the gospel, but they receive it carelessly, and are no more moved with it than with a story of golden mountains, or rubies or diamonds fallen from heaven in a night-dream. You make God spend his best arguments in vain if you neglect this grace. Scourge conscience till it ache. What will you do? ' How will you escape, if you neglect so great salvation?' God sets himself a-work to gain the heart, and grace hath laid open all its treasures, as a man in a shop to draw in custom; now it is grieved and wronged when it doth not meet with a chapman. This is the charge that is laid upon those, Matt. 22: 6; when they were invited, ' They made light of it;' they did not take it into their care and thoughts, did not seriously think with themselves, Oh, that God should invite us to the marriage of his Son! They do not absolutely deny, but make excuse; they do not say, nonplacet, but non vacant—they are not at leisure; and this made the king angry. When all things are ready, and God sets forth the treasures and riches of his face, and men will not bethink themselves, their hearts are not ready. How will this make God angry? Such kind of neglecters are said to ‘judge themselves unworthy of eternal life,' Acts 13:46. You will say, Is there any fault in that? Who is worthy? Should we not judge ourselves to be vile forlorn creatures, unworthy of a look from God, much more of eternal life? I answer—It is not spoken of self-humbling, or of a holy self-condemning, but of those that turn their back upon grace. Grace comes to save them, and God makes them an offer as though they were worthy; and they judge themselves unworthy, and plainly declare they were altogether not worthy of this grace. All men are unworthy enough of eternal life, and God hath cause enough to condemn them ; but they chiefly judge themselves unworthy, that is, in fact declare themselves to be so, that have received the honour and favour of a call. Grace hath spoken unto them, and made them an offer of pardon and salvation, and they turn the back upon it, as if it were not worth the taking up on God's terms; and such are all ignorant sots and deaf worldlings.
Thomas Manton, “Sermons Upon Titus II. 11–14: Sermon I,” The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, D.D. (London: James Nisbet, 1874), 16:44–45.
...but he is a profane man indeed that despiseth the gospel, because it offereth such an excellent salvation; that is profaneness, to slight God's best provision, to scorn his bowels, and, when the Lord hath made the bait an allurement so strong to gain man's heart, yet to turn his back upon it.
Ibid., “Sermons Upon Titus II. 11–14: Sermon II,” 16:59–60.
[2.] The earth is the only place where this work is begun, or else it shall never be done hereafter: instance in anything that is the will of God. Here we must believe, or there we shall never enjoy: Luke ii. 14, 'Peace upon earth.' Now God offereth grace, and now it is his will we should come out of our sins, and accept of Christ to the ends for which he hath appointed him. And here we must be sanctified, else we shall be filthy for evermore. Corn grows in the field, but it is laid up in the barn. Now is the time of minding this work, here upon earth.
Thomas Manton, “A Practical Exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, in The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, D.D. (London: James Nisbet, 1870), 1:124.