August 7, 2014

Richard Baxter (1615–1691) on Augustine and Redemption

As for Augustine and some Protestants, they oft deny that Christ redeemeth any but the Faithful, because the word Redemption is ambiguous, and sometimes taken for the price or ransome paid, and often for the very liberation of the captive Sinner. And whenever Austin denieth common Redemption, he taketh Redemption in this last sense, for actual deliverance. But he asserteth it in the first sense, that Christ died for all. Yea, he thought his death is actually applied to the true Justification and Sanctification of some Reprobates that fall away and perish, though the Elect only are so redeemed as to be saved. Read yourself in Augustine, Prosper and Fulgentius, and you will see this with your own eyes.
Richard Baxter, Catholick Theologie (London: Printed by Robert White, for Nevill Simmons at the  Princes Arms in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1675), 2:57–58.

Similarly, Henry Browne (1804–1875) said:
Perhaps it will generally be found, that in speaking of Redemption, St. Augustine contemplates it not merely as the act of Christ, objectively, consummated once for all on the Cross, but subjectively, as an act taking place in the persons redeemed: in other words, he speaks of it as the actual deliverance of souls from the power of Satan. This work of grace in the individual man, which is begun here in the emancipation of the captive will, takes place (as he teaches) infallibly and indefectibly in the elect. But the reprobate, even if for a while they live faithfully and righteously, (de Corrept. et Grat. § 16. 40) not receiving the gift of perseverance, remain finally under the power of the devil; consequently, are not redeemed: Redemption does not take place in them as a fact. And since the Will of God is all in all, and cannot be defeated of Its purpose, therefore God did not purpose the redemption of such, and Christ died not for them, but only for those whom He knew to be given Him of the Father, that He should give unto them eternal life, and lose none of them.
Henry Browne, “Note A,” in S. Augustine, Homilies on the Gospel According to St. John, and his First Epistle, trans. H. Browne, 2 vols. (A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church; Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1848-1849), 1238.


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