Imágenes de páginas

SER M. into the Church, and according to the apostolical doĉtrine II. baptized into the death of Christ, is by bis blood washed

- from their fins Because there could be no true regeneration, unless there were made also a true redemption; since in the facraments of the Church there is nothing empty (or vain), nothing ludificatory ; but all thoroughly true, and supported by its own very truth and sincerity. Yet that out of the very company of believers and the redeemed, fome are eternally saved, because by God's grace they faithfully abide in their redemption, bearing the Lord's speech in their hearts, He that perfeveres to the end shall be saved; and that others, because they would not abide in the salvation of the faith, which they at first received, and did rather choose to frustrate the grace of redemption by eyil doctrine or life, than to keep it, do nowise arrive to the plenitude of salvation, and to the perception of eternal beatitude. 'Tis then a catholick and true doctrine, that at least Christ is a Saviour of all appearing Christians; and supposing the truth thereof, I say that by consequence he is also the Saviour of all men. For it appeareth thence, that the design of our Saviour's performances did not flow from, or was not grounded upon any special love, or any absolute decree concerning those persons who in event shall be saved; since according to that supposition it extendeth to many others; wberefore it proceeded from God's natural goodness, and common kind affection toward mankind; from the compassion of a gracious Creator toward his miserable creature, whence all men are concerned and interested therein. Why God's merciful intentions were not explicitly declared and propounded to Socrates and Epictetus, as they were to Judas Iscariot and Simon Magus, is another question, which we may afterward in some manner affoil ; at present, it suffices to say, that the overture of mercy made to such wretches doth argue God's kind disposition and good intention toward all men; so it did in St. Am



brose's opinion * ; who says, that our Lord ought s ER M. not to pass by the man who should betray him, that all men might take notice, that in the choice even of his traitor, he did hold forth a pledge or mark of all men's being to be saved.

But the truth of this doctrine will farther appear by the declaration and surveyal of those respects according to which Christ is represented the Saviour of men, as also by considering how useful and conducible to piety this doctrine is, as ministering grounds and obligations, encouragements and motives to the practice of most considerable duties required from all men. But these things must be reserved to another occasion.

* Et ideo nec proditurum debuit præterire, ut adverterent om. nes, quod in electione etiam proditoris sui servandorum omnium infigne prætendit, Ambr. de Parad. 8.




The Doctrine of Universal Redemption asserted

and explained.

1 Tim. iv, 10.



The living God; who is the Saviour of all men,

especially of those that believe. HAT our Lord Jesus is the Saviour of all men, s E R M.

we have before from plain testimonies of holy Scripture, and from some arguments grounded there, afsayed to shew. The same will be made farther apparent by considering the respects according to which he is such ; and those we may first consider generally and in the gross, then survey them more particularly and distinctly,

In general we may fay, that our Lord is the Saviour of all men, for that he hath rendered all men salvabiles, capable of salvation ; and salvandos, designed to salvation. For that he hath removed all obstacles peremptorily debarring men from access to salvation, and hath procured competent furtherances to their attainment of it. For that he hath rescued mankind out of that dead and desperate condition, wherein it lay involved; being the bread of God, who John vi. 33. bath descended from heaven, that he might give life to the



SER M. world, as he faith of himself. For that he hath per

formed whatever on his part is necessary or fit in order to salvation, antecedently to the acceptance and compliance with those reasonable conditions, which by God's wisdom are required toward the instating men into a full and immediate right to salvation, or to a complete and actual fruition thereof. He made

the way to happiness plain and passable : levelling Luke iii. 5. the insuperable cliffs, and filling up the chasms, and

rectifying the obliquities, and smoothing the asperities thereof, as the Prophet foretold ; so that all men, who would, might conveniently walk therein. * He

set the doors of paradise wide open, so that who Lukeiv. 18. pleased might enter in ; all the bonds and restraints Tossa com under which men lay, he so far loosed, that any man

night be free, who would concur to his own liberty and enlargement. All the protection and encouragement which was needful toward obtaining falvation, he afforded and exhibited to every one, that would embrace and make use of them. In respect to which performances he might be justly esteemed and truly called a Saviour, although all men do not in effect become saved. For the estimation and denomination of performances are to be grounded upon their own nature and design, not upon events depending upon the contingent and arbitrary behaviour of men. As he that freely offers a rich boon is no less to be accounted a benefactor and liberal, although his gift be refused, than if it were accepted ; as he that opens the prison is to be styled a deliverer, although the captive will not go forth; as he that ministers an effectual remedy, although the patient will not use it, deserves the honour and thanks due to a phyfician ; fo is our Lord in regard to what he hath performed for men, and offered to them (being sufficient to prevent their misery, and promote their hap

in pall.

* 'r yñ árri xatágaz củaéyntar, é nepcédecoros hvoryn, &c. Atban.


« AnteriorContinuar »