October 8, 2009

John Humfrey (1621–1719) on the Purchase of Faith

To come up closer then to this person, & speak exactly, if I can. The death of Christ, as it is Redemptory, Propitiatory, or Satisfactory for sin, hath this fruit I speak of, Pardon. It is this is the direct immediate & proper fruit of it; I think I may say too, the only (such) fruit of it, for, Pardon for all sin of Omission and Commission, and consequently a disobligation from all punishment, of Loss and Suffering, is (passively taken) no less than a right to Impunity and Life, and this is held forth upon condition of Faith and Repentance to all the World: But the Condition it self (performed by some) is not the fruit of Christs death, as a Propitiation, though by way of Redundancy it comes by it. If you ask me what Redundancy? or How? I will tell you (though I can't Peremptorily,) as thus. In all things whatsoever we pray for, suppose it to be for fair weather (as we have Collects for such Occasions), we ask it in Christs name, for his sake, or through his merits, when yet it would be a strange speech to say Christ dyed that we may have fair weather: And nevertheless there is some sense in which there is a Truth in this; for if Christ had not atoned God by his satisfaction for sin, there is no blessing could be obtained for, or by, any. Now, when there is some distinction must be made here, so that, mediately, indirectly, or some way, by way of Redundancy, such blessings, even as these, are the benefits of Christs Redemption to such and such particular persons, let that distinction be formed right, and in such a sense will the condition we speak of be a fruit hereof to the Elect, even by its redundant merit and value.

The purchase of Christ made, was a purchase for us, and for himself. His purchase for us was, that we should be pardoned upon Condition: He purchased for himself, a power to give us that condition, that our pardon may be compleat. All power is committed to me in Heaven and Earth, saith Christ, after he was risen. There is accordingly a Redemption by price (our Divines say), and by power. Pardon upon condition is the fruit of his Redemption by price: But the Condition is the Effect of his Redemption by power. When by his Death (I say) he had paid the price of a pardon for All upon Condition; by his Resurrection he receives power to confer the condition to whom he pleases, that is the Elect, which when they perform, they are justified, or have absolute right in it. And that may be a good resolution as to the sense of that Text, He was delivered for our sins, and raised again for our justification. to make the matter though more plain, we have that Text in Acts. Him hath God exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. Repentance we see (and so faith) comes from this power, the power of Christ as a King, rather than as a Priest; and if as a Priest both, 'tis by vertue of his Intercession as he is at Gods right hand, rather than of his Oblation. Now Christ intercedes for nothing but according to Gods will; His will is his Decree, and it is from the decree, his decree of Election, that our faith and repentance does come. It is not from Christs purchase by price; it is not from the power of our free will; but it is from Election (which belongs to God not as Rector, but as Lord of his own gifts) working the same effectually in us. It is out of this Treasury Christ gives it; And not by virtue of a right to any from his death, but by the power of an endless life. Not as Testator, but as the Executor or Dispenser of his Fathers Election.

In fine, Christ by his death did merit, or procure this power, that he hath at Gods right hand: By this power he gives us Repentance and Faith. Faith and Repentance then is not the fruit of Chirsts death any otherwise than mediately or indirectly, as being derived from this power, which he obtained by it.

God (I again say) for the merit of Christs life and death exalts him to the power mentioned. Wherefore God hath highly exalted him. By this power, or as exalted, Christ gives his Spirit to work Faith and Repentance in whom he chooses, or hath chosen. By this work they are regenerated, and that Article in the Agreement (or Covenant as some call it) between Father and Son [When though shalt make his Soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed,] is made good to him. In this way about then, and no other, does Faith and Repentance come to the Elect by his death, when the direct and immediate fruit of it is Universal. That is, Faith and Repentance (the Condition) is the fruit of Christs death as all other Blessings are, which are asked of God for Chirst's merits sake, or which he, as Prince and Saviour, bestows on his people.
John Humfrey, Peace at Pinners-Hall Wish'd and Attempted in a Pacifick Paper Touching The Universality of Redemption, the Conditionality of the Covenant of Grace, and our Freedom from the Law of Works (London, Printed and are to be Sold by Randal Taylor near Amen-Corner, 1692), 4–7.

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