November 6, 2014

William Prynne (1600–1669) on the Sufficiency and Efficacy of Christ's Death

"Thirdly, that Christ Jesus died sufficiently for all mankind, but effectually for none but the Elect, and true believers, who alone are saved by his death.

The sufficiency of Christ's death for all mankind, is expressed in these several places [in the Book of Common Prayer]. O God the Son redeemer of the World, have mercy upon us miserable sinners. Above all we must give humble and hearty thanks to God the Father, &c. for the redemption of the world, by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, &c. Almighty God our heavenly Father which of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our Redemption, who made there (by his own oblation once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, &c. O Lambe of God which takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayers. Secondly, in God the Son, who hath redeemed me and all mankind. O Saviour of the world save us, which by the Cross and Passion has redeemed us: All this must be understood only of the sufficiency and merit of Christ's death, not of the efficacy, benefit, and application of it, which belongs to none but to the true Church of Christ, even the Elect and true believers as these passages ensuing will inform us. When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the Kingdom of heaven to all believers. We pray thee help thy servants, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood. O Lord save thy people, and make thy chosen people joyful. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and Redeemed his people. To give knowledge of Salvation to his people, for the remission of their sins. His mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations. He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel, &c. Spare thy people whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood. This is the blood of the new Testament, which is shed for you, and for many for the Remission of sin. Grant that by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, & through faith in his blood, we and all thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion. Now the Church the mystical body of Christ, is the blessed company of all faithful and elect people, and none else but they; as the next prayer, the Collect on good Friday, and the places quoted in the first Position, prove. And whereas the Minister in distributing the Bread and wine, saith particularly to every man: take this in remembrance that Christ died effectually for all men; but the contrary, that he died only thus for the Elect and faithful: because our Church prohibits all such as want true faith and repentance, or live in any gross and known sins, to come to the Sacrament, admitting none but true and faithful penitents to it: so that the Minister and our Church do always look upon all Communicants, as the elect and chosen Saints of God, endued with true faith and repentance, and so they may well apply (at leastwise in the judgement of Charity) the efficacy and merits of Christ's death unto them. I will conclude this point with the passage of A Prayer necessary for all men. Jesus Christ thy only Son hath perfectly fulfilled thy Law, to justify all men that believe and trust in him. And thus much for our Common Prayer Book."


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