October 1, 2009

A Few Historical References by John Humfrey (1621–1719) on the Redemption Controversy

Sir, you know there are two sorts of such as oppose Arminianism. One that is the high sort, and the other the moderate sort that are for the middle way in these Controversies, and I confess myself one who have wrote several pieces, so called. We that are of this sort, do hold Election to be of particular persons (not the choosing Believers to be saved with the Arminian and Lutherans, but the choosing Persons to believe): But Redemption we hold to be Universal. The Scriptures say, Christ died for all, and for every man. God so loved the World, (says Christ) that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. By the World, this Gentlemen must understand the Elect: but when by the words [that whosoever believeth in him] Christ plainly intimates, that there are some of those God loves, do believe, and some not; the World must be more than the Elect. Of the world of those God loves so as to give his Son, to dye for them; some believe in him, and have everlasting life, and some believe not and perish. But of the Elect all believe, and none perish.

One Text more I will quote: Whom he did predestinate, them he called: Whom he called, them he justified: Whom he justified, them he also glorified. And why is Redemption here left out of the Apostolical Chain, but because those he hath redeemed, are all the world? If the Doctrine that this Gentleman hath received were right, the Apostle would have said, Whom he did predestinate, them he Redeemed.

I shall use no more Arguments, or Scriptures, when so many may be had; but because this Gentleman was apt to think me singular in what I said, it is fit he know that the Church of England (and consequently our Holy Martyrs, Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Bradford,) does in her Catechism assert this Doctrine, when the child is made to answer there, Who hath redeemed me and all mankind. The excellent Dr. Bishop Davenant, hath wrote a Book on purpose, De Morte Christi, to maintain this point. Archbishop Usher (not to name any of our Eminent forraign Divines) hath done the like. Mr. Baxter, that every foot is commending this book of Davenants so highly, is one, I won't scruple to say now he is dead, no less profound himself, and chose to go this way with them.
John Humfrey, Peace at Pinners-Hall (London: Printed and be Sold by Randal Taylor near Amen-Corner, 1692), 2–4.

Observe the following points in the above:

1) Humfrey distinguishes between the two sorts of Calvinists who oppose Arminianism: the "high sort" and the "moderates."
2) The "moderates" hold to a form of universal redemption.
3) He lists Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Bradford, Davenant, Ussher and Baxter as "moderates."

Note (5-8-13): Joseph Truman also calls himself a "moderate" several times in opposing certain free will theologians in 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). See, for example, pp. 115, 124.

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