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DR. WHITBY Sаays*, that the confirmation of the doctrine of universal redemption, from the suffrage of all antiquity, is sufficiently done by Vossius, in his Historia Pelagiana, where he lays down these two positions, 1. That "the sense of the ancient church was, that God wills the conversion and salvation of all." 2. That "it was the judgment of the ancient church, that Christ had provided an universal remedy for the universal fault of men, by paying a ransom of infinite value, lest any one should perish through the defect of it." He further observes, that this is more copiously done by Mr. Dally (he means Monsieur Daille) by producing the testimonies of the ancients from the first to the twelfth century; and concluding thus, "Certainly I do not find one in the first eight ages of Christianity that has said absolutely, and in terms, as is commonly said, that Christ died only for the elect." Here the Doctor rests, and would have his readers trust to and depend upon the conclusions and assertions of these two men. Vossius's Pelagian History must be allowed to be a very considerable performance, and is the fund and magazine of antiquity for the Arminians. Dr. Twisse intended an answer to it, and in one of his books says †, he had entered upon it; but death I suppose prevented his design, at least it never was published; such a work, by so learned a hand, might have been of great service. But why should we trust to Vossius's account of the judgment of the ancient church in this point, since Dr. Whitby himself would not trust him in another? namely, original sin; though he was so very positive as to say, "The catholic church always so judged;" and the Doctor tells us, that "upon an impartial search he found that all the passages he had collected were impertinent, or at least insufficient to prove the point." This gives no encouragement to depend on him. And inasmuch as the several passages cited by Vossius are also, with many others, produced by Monsieur Daille, I shall only attend to the latter, and to those only of the first four centuries; and though he observes, that in these and the four following ages, none ever said absolutely, and in express terms, that Christ died only for the elect; yet it does not follow, but that some might say it, in other terms and words equivalent, of the same signification, and which amounted to the same sense. It must be owned, that Monsieur Daille has collected a large number of testimonies indeed; but when it is considered, that multitudes of them are only expressed in Scripture language, and so capable of the same sense the Scriptures are; others regard men of all sorts, ranks, and degrees; others Jews and Gentiles; others the
* Discourse, &c. p. 193; ed. 2. 195; Postscript, p. 566; ed. 2. 543.
Preface to Discourse, &c. p. 4; ed. 2. p. 2.
sufficiency of Christ's death for all; and others, some general benefit by it, as the resurrection of the dead; their number will be greatly reduced, and very few left to be of any service to the cause for which they are brought; besides, it will be made to appear in the following Sections, that the ancients often describe the persons for whom Christ died by such characters as cannot agree with all men.
CLEMENS ROMANUS. A. D. 69.
CLEMENT, as he believed there was a certain number of elect persons, which has been proved in the preceding chapter, so he plainly intimates, that these are the persons for whom Christ shed his blood; for having observed, that all the elect of God are made perfect in love, he adds, "Without love nothing is well-pleasing to God; in love the Lord assumed us to himself; because of the love which Christ our
Lord hath towards us, το αιμα αυτου εδωκεν υπερ ημων, he hath given his blood for us, his flesh for our flesh, and his soul for our souls." The sense of which is manifestly this, that the persons for whose sake Christ assumed human nature, and shed his precious blood, are the elect of God, and such who have a special and peculiar share in the love of Christ. And besides his saying †, that the blood of Christ was given, veр nuwv, for us, he restrains redemption to them that have faith and hope in God; for speaking of the spies that came into Rahab's house, ordering her to hang out a scarlet thread, thereby, says he, “ making it manifest, οτι δια του αιματος Κυριου λυτρωσις εσται πασι τοις πιστευουσιν και ελπίζουσιν επι τον Θεον, that through the blood of the Lord there should be redemption for all those that believe and hope in God." Monsieur Daille§ has cited a passage from this writer in favour of general redemption, which is this, "Let us," says Clement, "look to the blood of Christ, and see how precious his blood is to God, which being shed for our salvation, Tаτ т@ KOOμW μετάνοιας χαριν υπενεγκεν, hath brought the grace of repentance to all the world.' But his meaning is evidently this, that the blood of Christ, shed for the salvation of sinners, has laid a foundation for the preaching of the doctrine of repentance in all ages of the world; for he goes on to instance in the preaching of Noah to the old world; of Jonah to the Ninevites; and in God's declarations of his regard to repenting sinners in the times of Isaiah and Ezekiel; which he closes with this observation, παντας ουν τους αγαπητούς αυτου βουλομενος μετανοίας μετεχειν, “God therefore willing that his beloved ones should partake of repentance." In which he suggests, that God's grand design in having the doctrine of repentance preached in all ages was, that those who were the objects of his love might be brought unto it; which is so far from militating against, that it is a confirmation of the doctrine of special grace and redemption through
the blood of Christ.
* Ep. ad Corinth. p. 112. ↑ Ib. p. 52, 54. ‡ Ib. p. 30. § Apol. p. 753. | ||| Ep. ad Cor. p. 16.
BARNABAS. A. D. 70.
BARNABAS was a Levite, of the country of Cyprus *, and a companion of the apostle Paul; there is an epistle extant which goes under his name, and is thought to have been written after the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem, and about A.D. 70+, in which he not only says, "that the Son of God being Lord, and who also shall judge the quick and the dead, επαθεν ινα η πληγη αυτου ζωοποιητη ημας, suffered that by his stripes he might quicken us;" that he could not suffer ει μη δια ημας, "but for us;" and that he offered the vessel of the spirit a sacrifice, υπερ των ημετέρων αμαρτιών, for our sins," but also introduces Christ § thus speaking of his sufferings, "I see that I shall thus offer my flesh, υπερ αμαρτιών του λαου του καινου, for the sins of the new people; meaning a special and peculiar people that should be taken out from among the Gentiles under the New Testament dispensation, called a new people, to distinguish them from God's ancient people the Jews.
IGNATIUS. A. D. 110.
IGNATIUS never makes use of any general expressions when he speaks of the sufferings and death of Christ; but either says, that he suffered, υπερ εμω, δι ημας, for us, that we might be saved;" or υπερ αμαρτιων ημων, "for our sins; and sometimes describes the persons he means, as when he says, that "Jesus Christ died for us," ινα πιστεύσαντες εις τον θανατον αυτού, το αποθανειν εκφυγητε, that believing in his death, you may escape dying." And in another place he says ** 66 that Jesus is η ζωη των πιστών, "the life of believers." Monsieur Daille has not attempted to give us one instance for general redemption out of this writer, nor the former.
JUSTIN. A. D. 150.
JUSTIN MARTYR, in many places of his writings, limits the incarnation, sufferings, death, and sacrifice of Christ, and redemption by him, to certain persons whom he describes by repenting sinners, believers, &c. when he says++, that Christ "was born according to the will of God the Father, υπέρ των πιστευοντων ανθρώπων, for men that believe;” that is, in order to procure salvation, and obtain eternal redemption for such persons, as he elsewhere explains it; saying‡‡, that he "be
*Acts iv. 36.
+ Vide Fabricii Bibl. Græc. 1. 4, c. 5, p. 173. + Part 1, s. 6, p. 223. § Ibid. p. 224. || Ignat. Ep. ad Sinyrn. p. 2, 5; ad Polycarp, p. 12; ad Eph. p. 17; ad Rom. P. 59. ¶ Ep. ad Tralles, p. 47. ** Ep. ad Rom. p. 59. †† Apol. pro Christ. 1, p. 45. Ib. 2, p. 86.
came man of a virgin, according to the will of the Father, vπeр σωτηρίας των πιστευοντων αυτω, for the salvation of them that believe in him." And in another place*, having cited Isa. xxxiii. 16, Bread shall be given him he observes, "that is a prophecy concerning that bread which our Christ hath delivered to us in commemoration of his being embodied; δια τους πιστεύοντας εις αυτον, δι' ους και, παθητος γέγονε, for the sake of them that believe in him, for whom also he became subject to sufferings." And elsewhere he says, that "the offering of fine flour for the leper, was a figure of the bread of the eucharist, which Jesus Christ our Lord hath delivered unto us to do in commemoration of his sufferings; which he endured νTEр Twv кaðαιроμеvæv τας ψυχας απο πασης πονηρίας ανθρωπων, for those men whose souls are purified from all iniquity;" and this he supposed was done by the blood of Christ; for more than once explaining that text in Gen. xlix. 11, He washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes; he says, it "foretold, and manifestly declared the sufferings which Christ should endure, δι' αιματος καθαίρων τους πιστεύοντας αυτώ, puritying by his blood them that believe in him." These, he often intimates, share the benefits of Christ's blood, sufferings, and death; "as," says he §,"the blood of the passover saved them that were in Egypt, so the blood of Christ τους πιστεύοντας ρύσεται εκ θανατου, delivers from death those that believe." In like manner he asserts, that Christ was an offering or sacrifice, υπερ παντων μετανοειν βουλομένων αμαρτωλων, "for all sinners that are willing to repent." Yea¶, that a maλayı δε του θανατου τοις μεταγινωσκουσιν απο των φαυλων και πιστευουσιν αυτω Epуaceraι, "he has wrought out deliverance from death for those that repent of their evils and believe in him." Now had Justin been of opinion that Christ died for every individual of mankind, would he have used such limitations and restrictions, when treating of the extent of his sufferings and death? Monsieur Daille indeed cites** some passages from him as favouring the doctrine of universal redemption; but his first instance only proves, that Christ was born and crucified υπερ του γενους των ανθρωπων, for the generation of men," or for mankind; but not that he was born and crucified for every individual of mankind. Justin's sense in other places is clear, and his meaning is, that Christ died for some of all sorts of men; as when speaking of the scarlet thread that Rahab the harlot was directed to bind to her window, he says++, it was a "symbol of the blood of Christ, by which are saved the fornicators of old, and unrighteous persons, EK TаT WV Twv €0vwv, out of all nations; receiving forgiveness of sins, and sinning no more. And in another place he thus expresses himself ‡‡,"As Jacob served Laban for the cattle that were spotted, and of various forms, so Christ served even to the cross, υπερ των εκ παντός γενους ποικιλων και πολυειδων ανθρώπων, for men of every kind, of many and various shapes, procuring them by his blood, and the mystery of the
*Dialog. cum Tryph. p. 296, 297.
Pro Christ. Apolog. 2, p. 74; Dialog cum Tryph. p. 273.
† Ibid. p. 259, 260.
§ Ibid. p. 338. ** Page 754, 755.
Ibid. p. 364.
cross." Monsieur Daille's second instance only declares that kind and tender manner in which God sent his Son into the world. His third sets forth Justin's sentiments concerning the heathens, which will be considered in a proper place. And his fourth and last only shows, that it is the will of God that all should be saved; meaning, that all men shall be raised from the dead; against those that deny the doctrine of the resurrection; or that it is the will of God that some of all sorts should be saved, referring to the apostle's words and sense in 1 Tim. ii. 4.
ECCLESIA SMYRNENSIS. A. D. 169.
THE church at Smyrna wrote a letter to the churches in Pontus, and to the church at Philomelium, as it is thought, about the year 169, giving an account of the sufferings of some martyrs, and particularly of Polycarp, their former bishop; in which they take notice of the stupidity of some persons, who used their interest to prevent the Christians having the dead body of Polycarp given them; lest leaving their crucified Christ, they should begin to worship him; being ignorant, say they *, that we can never leave that Christ, Tоv vπeр tηs tov παντος κόσμου των σωζόμενων σωτηρίας παθοντα, “ who suffered for the salvation of the whole world of them that are saved, nor worship any other." This passage Monsieur Daille† thinks makes nothing to the purpose, since it does not deny that Christ died for others besides those who are really saved. But surely if these pious Christians had believed that Christ died for all men, for them that are saved, and for them that are not saved, they would never have expressed themselves in this restrictive manner; but would have chose to have carried the extent of Christ's sufferings and death to the utmost, when they were declaring their great regard for him, and the great benefit of salvation men receive by him. Besides, these words manifestly show, in what sense this very ancient church understood those universal phrases, the world, the whole world, and all men, in Scripture, for whom Christ is said to give himself and die, and for whose sins he is said to be a propitiation; that these design a certain number of men that are and will be saved. As to the version of Ruffinus, urged by this author, rendering the passage thus, "who endured death for the salvation of the whole world," it is not worthy of regard, since it is an imperfect one, omitting the words for σwCoμevor. And here I choose to take notice των σωζομενων. of a citation made by Monsieur Daille‡, and after him by Dr. Whitby§, out of an epistle of Polycarp, bishop of this church at Smyrna, said to be written A.D. 107, to the Philippians, in which he thus speaks concerning Christ, "who," says he, "will come to judge the quick and the dead ; ου το αιμα εκζητήσει ο Θεος απο των απειθούντων αυτω, whose blood God will require of them that believed not in him;" from whence they conclude, that according to this ancient venerable bishop, * Epist. Eccles. Smyrn. apud Euseb, Eccles. Hist. 1. 4, c. 15, p. 134.
† Page 945.
§ Postscript to the Discourse, &c. p. 567; ed. 2. 544.