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Of application and impetration.
The allowable use of this distinction, how it may be taken in a sound sense, the several ways whereby men have expressed the thing which in these words is intimated, and some arguments for the overthrowing of the false use of it, however expressed, we have before intimated and declared. Now, seeing that this is the πρῶτον ψεῦδος of the opposite opinion, understood in the sense and according to the use they make of it, I shall give it one blow more, and leave it, I hope, a-dying.
I shall, then, briefly declare, that although these two things may admit of a distinction, yet they cannot of a separation, but that for whomsoever Christ obtained good, to them it might be applied; and for whomsoever he wrought reconciliation with God, they must actually unto God be reconciled. So that the blood of Christ, and his death in the virtue of it, cannot be looked on, as some do, as a medicine in a box, laid up for all that shall come to have any of it, and so applied now to one, then to another, without any respect or difference, as though it should be intended no more for one than for another; so that although he hath obtained all the good that he hath purchased for us, yet it is left indifferent and uncertain whether it shall ever be ours or no: for it is well known, that notwithstanding those glorious things that are assigned by the Arminians to the death of Christ, which they say he purchased for all, as remission of sins, reconciliation with God, and the like, yet they for whom this purchase and procurement is made may be damned, as the greatest part are, and certainly shall be. Now, that there should be such a distance between these two, —
First, It is contrary to common sense or our usual form of speaking, which must be wrested, and our understandings forced to apprehend it. When a man hath obtained an office, or any other obtained it for him, can it be said that it is uncertain whether he shall have it or no? If it be obtained for him, is it not his in right, thorough perhaps not in possession? That which is impetrated or obtained by petition is his by whom it is obtained. It is to offer violence to common sense to say a thing may be a man’s, or it may not be his, when it is obtained for him; for in so saying we say it is his. And so it is in the purchase made by Jesus Christ, and the good things obtained by him for all them for whom he died.
Secondly, It is contrary to all reason in the world, that the death of Christ, in God’s intention, should be applied to any one that shall have no share in the merits of that death. God’s will that Christ should die for any, is his intention that he shall have a share in the death of Christ, that it should belong to him, — that is, be applied to him; for that is, in this case, said to be applied to any that is his in any respect, according to the will of God. But now the death of Christ, according to the opinion we oppose, is so applied to all, and yet the fruits of this death are never so much as once made known to far the greatest part of those all.
Thirdly, [It is contrary to reason] that a ransom should be paid for captives, upon compact for their deliverance, and yet upon the payment those captives not be made free and set at liberty. The death of Christ is a ransom, Matt. xx. 28, paid by compact for the deliverance of captives for whom it was a ransom; and the promise wherein his Father stood engaged to him at his undertaking to be a Saviour, and undergoing the office imposed on him, was their deliverance, as was before declared, upon his performance of these things: on that [being done, that] the greatest number of these captives should never be released, seems strange and very improbable.
Fourthly, It is contrary to Scripture, as was before at large declared. See [also book iii.] chap. x.
But now, all this our adversaries suppose they shall wipe away with one slight distinction, that will make, as they say, all we affirm in this kind to vanish; and that is this: “It is true,” say they, “all things that are absolutely procured and obtained for any do presently become theirs in right for whom they are obtained; but things that are obtained upon condition become not theirs until the condition be fulfilled. Now, Christ hath purchased, by his death for all, all good things, not absolutely, but upon condition; and until that condition come to be fulfilled, unless they perform what is required, they have neither part nor portion, right unto nor possession of them.” Also, what this condition is they give in, in sundry terms; some call it a not resisting of this redemption offered to them; some, a yielding to the invitation of the gospel; some, in plain terms, faith. Now, be it so that Christ purchaseth all things for us, to be bestowed on this condition, that we do believe it, then I affirm that, —
First, Certainly this condition ought to be revealed to all for whom this purchase is made, if it be intended for them in good earnest. All for whom he died must have means to know that his death will do them good if they believe; especially it being in his power alone to grant them these means who intends good to them by his death. If I should entreat a physician that could cure such a disease to cure all that came unto him, but should let many rest ignorant of the grant which I had procured of the physician, and none but myself could acquaint them with it, whereby they might go to him and be healed, could I be supposed to intend the healing of those people? Doubtless no. The application is easy.
Secondly, This condition of them to be required is in their power to perform, or it is not. If it be, then have all men power to believe; which is false: if it be not, then the Lord will grant them grace to perform it, or he will not. If he will, why then do not all believe? why are not all saved? if he will not, then this impetration, or obtaining salvation and redemption for all by the blood of Jesus Christ, comes at length to this:— God intendeth that he shall die for all, to procure for them remission of sins, reconciliation with him, eternal redemption and glory; but yet so that they shall never have the least good by these glorious things, unless they perform that which he knows they are no way able to do, and which none but himself can enable them to perform, and which concerning far the greatest part of them he is resolved not to do. Is this to intend that Christ should die for them for their good? or rather, that he should die for them to expose them to shame and misery? Is it not all one as if a man should promise a blind man a thousand pounds upon condition that he will see.
Thirdly, This condition of faith is procured for us by the death of Christ, or it is not. If they say it be not, then the chiefest grace, and without which redemption itself (express it how you please) is of no value, doth not depend on the grace of Christ as the meritorious procuring cause thereof; — which, first, is exceedingly injurious to our blessed Saviour, and serves only to diminish the honour and love due to him; secondly, is contrary to Scripture: Tit. iii. 5, 6; 2 Cor. v. 21, “He became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” And how we can become the righteousness of God but by believing, I know not. Yea, expressly saith the apostle, “It is given to us for Christ’s sake, on the behalf of Christ, to believe in him,” Phil. i. 29; “God blessing us with all spiritual blessing in him,” Eph. i. 3, whereof surely faith is not the least. If it be a fruit of the death of Christ, why is it not bestowed on all, since he died for all, especially since the whole impetration of redemption is altogether unprofitable without it? If they do invent a condition upon which this is bestowed, the vanity of that shall be afterward discovered. For the present, if this condition be, So they do not refuse or resist the means of grace, then I ask, if the fruit of the death of Christ shall be applied to all that fulfil this condition of not refusing or not resisting the means of grace? If not, then why is that produced? If so, then all must be saved that have not, or do not resist, the means of grace; that is, all pagans, infidels, and those infants to whom the gospel was never preached.
Fourthly, This whole assertion tends to make Christ but a half mediator, that should procure the end, but not the means conducing thereunto. So that, notwithstanding this exception and new distinction, our assertion stands firm, — That the fruits of the death of Christ, in respect of impetration of good and application to us, ought not to be divided; and our arguments to confirm it are unshaken.
For a close of all; that which in this cause we affirm may be summed up in this: Christ did not die for any upon condition, if they do believe; but he died for all God’s elect, that they should believe, and believing have eternal life. Faith itself is among the principal effects and fruits of the death of Christ; as shall be declared. It is nowhere said in Scripture, nor can it reasonably be affirmed, that if we believe, Christ died for us, as though our believing should make that to be which otherwise was not, — the act create the object; but Christ died for us that we might believe. Salvation, indeed, is bestowed conditionally; but faith, which is the condition, is absolutely procured. The question being thus stated, the difference laid open, and the thing in controversy made known, we proceed, in the next place, to draw forth some of those arguments, demonstrations, testimonies, and proofs, whereby the truth we maintain is established, in which it is contained, and upon which it is firmly founded: only desiring the reader to retain some notions in his mind of those fundamentals which in general we laid down before; they standing in such relation to the arguments which we shall use, that I am confident not one of them can be thoroughly answered before they be everted.
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