November 17, 2009

From Thomas Lamb's (died c. 1672 or 1686) Preface to the Reader in the Book Absolute Freedom from Sin by Christs Death for the World

"And from hence it followeth, first, that if those that are saved be but few, and those void of those humane excellencies and worldly helps that others have, this salvation cannot be attributed to any qualification in or proceeding from those persons more than others, but is begun, continued and perfected to and in them by the gift of God alone which excelleth to them above others, and this is the principle matter in the Book.

And secondly, seeing furniture from God by his Spirit is promised and afforded unto these few destitute of humane Arts or Learning, enabling them to defend themselves in the Truth against those that abound therein, this hath imboldened the publishing of this Book, though I had no humane Arts in answering him that had; the Reader therefore may understand that whereas I have been taught of God the precious Truth of Christ crucified for the sins of the world, as the onely Doctrine of the Gospel begetting faith or the belief thereof in the souls of men in whom it is begotten, and charging the belief thereof upon all, and is a firm foundation for such belief from the worse of sinners, condemning all or any for not believing the same, and whosoever do believe it knowingly do believe also themselves sinners, and by this means the remission of all their sins, and are thereby accepted as just in the sight of God.

This knowledg I have for long time since endeavoured to work in the minds of others, as knowing it to be their Life, Prov. 3.18. wherein as some have praised God for my Labours, so have I had no small opposition from others, who first conclude that if Christ died for all mens sins all must needs be saved, they not considering that some bring in damnable Heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction, 2 Peter 2.1. And that none can be condemned or blamed for the sin of unbelief but he whose sins Christ died for.

But further they urge, this denies election of some above others, and concludes free will and a power in man to believe, and the grace of God to man for salvation no other than what depends upon something performed as a condition of his acceptance with God and that final falling away of Saints is a thing possible, as being left by God to the liberty of their own will.

These as I have upon good reason knowingly denied them to be any natural consequences of the death of Christ for all men, yet nevertheless many who own the Death of Christ for all, do own these as true consequences, and these not onely of more common and ignorant sort of people, but men of parts and good esteem for Learning.

Hence it is that the opposers of Christs Death for all are animated to conclude these consequences undeniably to follow, and therefore reject it wholly as false Doctrine."

Hereupon I have been pressed in my spirit to publish something in print, declaring and plainly proving that the Death of Christ for all hath not any affinity with these things, but is a Truth without them..."
Thomas Lamb's "Preface to the Reader," in Absolute Freedom from Sin by Christs Death for the World (London: Printed by H. H. for the Authour, and are to be sold by him, 1656), x-xi. [No Pagination; pages numbered manually from the beginning]

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