July 20, 2010

George Walker (1581–1651) on the Death of Christ

This Westminster divine said the following:
Quest. How can the sufferings of one man satisfy for all men, and the righteousness of one be able to justify all that are to be justified?

Answ. The man Christ as he fulfilled the Law, and suffered in our nature, so his righteousness and satisfaction is human, and is proper only to mankind, for as man sinned, so man satisfied. But as this man Christ, is also God in the same person: So his righteousness and satisfaction is Divine of infinite value and worth, even the righteousness and suffering of God; and that is more than if all men had suffered eternal death, and fulfilled in their own persons every jot and tittle of the Law, and all the righteousness thereof.
George Walker, The Key of Saving Knowledge (London: Printed by Tho. Badger, 1641), 47. Some spelling has been updated. Notice that Walker seems to grant the premise in the question that the sufferings of the one man [Christ] satisfies for all men,” and then goes on to argue how that can be the case.

He also connects NT ransom language to all mankind, using 1 Tim. 4:10. Walker said:
Quest. Doth not Christ as well make Intercession for all, as he died for all mankind?

Answ. Though Christ died and fulfilled the Law for a common benefit to all man-kind and his ransom is sufficient to save all; yet he never purposed to redeem all men by his death. For he knew that many were already damned, and past all hope of redemption before he died, and that Judas was a son of perdition, and therefore he did not purpose to give himself a ransom for them. Besides he himself testifieth that he did not pray for the world, but only for his Elect given to him by his father out of the world, Joh. 17.9. Therefore he did much less die with an intent, purpose and desire to redeem and save them.
Ibid., 49–50. Some spelling has been updated.
Quest. You have well shewed that Christ both in respect of his Person and Offices, is an all sufficient Redeemer and Saviour, and is able by the infinite worth of his Mediation to save all men: Now then tell me why all men are not saved?

Answ. Though Christ [in] his ransom and satisfaction is able to save and redeem all that are partakers thereof, even all mankind, if they had grace to receive and apply him and all his merits by Faith, Yet because none have spiritual communion with him, but only they whom God hath chosen to eternal life in him, and predestined to be effectually called, according to his purpose, to the state of grace, and to be made conformable to his image: Therefore many who are not elect, follow their own evil ways, and have no will nor care to repent of their sins, and believe in Christ, but run willfully into destruction and perish.
Ibid., 52–53. Some spelling has been updated.
Quest. Doth the benefit of Christ the Mediator, and Redeemer reach only to the Elect?

Answ. Though the saving virtue of Christ belongeth only to the elect; yet there is a common benefit of Christ, whereof reprobates are partakers, which reacheth also to all the world. For he is said to preserve man and beasts, that is, to keep them in life and being, Psal. 36.6 and to be the Saviour of all, especially of them that believe, 1 Tim. 4.10 and to give himself a ransom for all, 1 Tim. 2.6. and by him all things are said to consist, Coloss. 1.17.
Ibid., 55. Some spelling has been updated.
But yet all this while Redemption both promised & undertaken and also actually performed is the same common ground of the holy weekly Sabbath: And Christ is the same Redeemer to all mankind, and the only mediator and Saviour. Yesterday, and to day, and the same for ever. Heb. 13.8. And the duty of keeping an holy weekly Sabbath is grounded on him throughout all ages, who is the common Saviour, and Redeemer of all mankind. Therefore all men of all ages are bound to this duty, & none exempted from it, in any nation age or generation.
George Walker, The Doctrine of the Sabbath (Printed at Amsterdam: [By Richt Right press], 1638), 103–104. Some spelling has  been updated.
Thirdly, all mankind even the most barbarous and savage nations, as they have their being, and all gifts of nature, from God’s creating hand and power. So they have all these things continued unto them by the mediation of Christ, and by a common and universal virtue of him the Redeemer, they are upheld in life and health and strength in this world: And Christ as Mediator procures all these things to them, after a secondary manner for his elect’s sake, which are either to spring after many ages out of their loins, or to receive benefit of their labors in subduing the earth, making it habitable and fit for his people to dwell in, and so preparing a place for his Church, or the like. In this respect God is called the Saviour of all men, but especially of them that do believe. Of all, in as much as he preserves them in natural life, but of the faithful, fully and perfectly in that he saves them from eternal death, and hell, and brings them to life eternal. And hereupon it is, that all things are said to be and to consist in, and by, and for Christ. Coloss. 1.17. and he is said to be a ransom for all men, that is reaching to all in some measure, manner, and degree, even to infidels to obtain common gifts for them, and to the elect perfectly to redeem them. Now they who partake the benefit of the Christ the blessed seed promised to Adam, they are bound to the duty which God requires in thankfulness for it, and for a continual commemoration thereof. Therefore all mankind even the most barbarous are bound to the duty of keeping an holy sabbath weekly, though they do not know that which binds them to it, and leads them to the performance thereof.
Ibid., 108–109.

Walker does, however, limit the “world” to the elect in John 3:16, 2 Cor. 5:19 and 1 John 2:2:
Sometimes [the ‘world’ is used of] the elect, who are the chief ones of the world, and of mankind, as John 3.16. and 2 Cor. 5.19. and 1 John 2.2. 
George Walker, The History of the Creation as it is Written by Moses in the First and Second Chapters of Genesis (London: Printed for John Barlet, 1641), 22.


No comments: