June 19, 2017

Richard Baxter’s (1615–1691) Notes on 1 Timothy 2:5–6

5. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6. Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

5, 6. For it must move us to pray for all, in compliance with this Will of God, that would have all Men saved; because there is One God who is good to all, and One Mediator between God and Mankind, who took on him the Common Nature of all Men, and gave himself a Ransom for all, revealed in the Season appointed of God, (or to be preached to all in due time, as God pleaseth.)

Note, The Controversie about Universal Redemption, too hotly agitated by Beza, Piscater, and others, on one side, and by many on the other, I have fully handled in my Catholick Theologie, and Methodus Theologiae; and it needs no more than as aforesaid: 1. Whoever is damned, it is not because no Ransom was made for him, or because it was not sufficient for him. 2. By Gods Will to save all, is meant the Effects of his Will that have a tendency to their Salvation. 3. It is notorious, that God hath made an Universal Act of Grace or Oblivion, giving Pardon of all Sin, and Right to Life in Christ, to all Men, without exception, on Condition of Believing-acceptance; and hath commissioned his Ministers to offer this Gift to all Men, to the utmost of their power, and entreat them to accept it; and doth by many Mercies intimate to them, that he useth them not according to the mere violated Law of Innocency, but on Terms of Grace. 4. Few Christians have the face to affirm, that this Universal Conditional Pardon and Gift (or Law of Grace) is no Fruit of the Death of Christ. 5. If therefore this Act of Pardon was purchased by Christ, and given to all, no modest Face can deny, that he so far died for all, as to purchase for them all that he actually giveth them. 6. It is usual to say that we give a Man a Benefit, (e. g. Life to a condemned Malefactor) if it be given him on the fair Condition of his Acceptance, and brought to his own Will, and he entreated to receive it. 7. If any Wrangler say, that this is unfit Language, (to say, He is willing that Men shall be saved, who offereth them Salvation freely, unless he also make them willing:) Let him confess, that it is but the Name that he denieth, and none of the Gifts in question. 8. And be it known, that Unwillingness cometh not from a Physical Impossibility, through the want of Natural Faculties, (as it is with Brutes) but from a voluntary Pravity, which aggravateth the Sin. 9. And the mutable Will of Man is to be changed by Reason: And God giveth Men Reasons in their kind sufficient to persuade them to accept of Christ and Life. 10. And lastly, No Man can say, that Adam when he fell had not Grace enough to make him Able to have stood, which he might have used, and should have done, to his actual standing: Nor, that God never giveth such a power to believe (or at least to come nearer the State of a true Believer) to many that might bring it into Act, and do not. This much is enough to end this Controversie with modest Wits.
Richard Baxter, “The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy,” in A Paraphrase on the New Testament (London: Printed for B. Simmons, at the Three Cocks in Ludgate-street, 1685), xxx3v.


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