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OF THE LATE
ARCHBISHOP OF ARMAGH, AND PRIMATE OF IRELAND,
TRUE INTENT AND EXTENT
AND SATISFACTION UPON THE CROSS.
WRITTEN IN ANSWER TO THE REQUEST OF A FRIEND,
MARCH 3, 1617.
TRUE INTENT AND EXTENT
CHRIST'S DEATH AND SATISFACTION
UPON THE CROSS.
The all-sufficient satisfaction of Christ, made for the sins of the whole world. The true intent and extent is lubricus locus to be handled, and hath, and doth now much trouble the Church : this question hath been moved sub iisdem terminis quibus nunc, and hath received contrary resolutions; the reason is, that in the two extremities of opinions held in this matter, there is somewhat true, and somewhat false; the one extremity extends the benefit of Christ's satisfaction too far, as if hereby God, for his part, were actually reconciled to all mankind, and did really discharge every man from all his sins, and that the reason why all men do not reap the fruit of this benefit, is the want of that faith whereby they ought to have believed, that God in this sort did love them : whence it would follow, that God should forgive a man his sins, and justify him before he believed; whereas the elect themselves, before their effectual vocation, are said to be “ without Christ, and without hope, and to be utter strangers from the covenants of promise."
2. The other extremity contracts the riches of Christ's satisfaction into too narrow a room; as if none had any kind of interest therein, but such as were elected before the foundation of the world, howsoever by the Gospel every one be charged to receive the same; whereby it would follow, that a man should be bound in conscience to believe that which is untrue, and charged to take that wherewith he hath nothing to do.
Both extremities then, drawing with them unavoidable absurdities: the word of God (by hearing whereof, faith is begotten) must be sought unto by a middle course, to avoid these extremities.
For finding out this middle course, we must, in the matter of our redemption, carefully put a distinction betwixt the satisfaction of Christ absolutely considered, and the application thereof to every one in particular : the former was once done for all, the other is still in doing : the former brings with it sufficiency, abundant to discharge the whole debt; the other adds to it efficacy. The satisfaction of Christ only makes the sins of mankind fit for pardon, which without it could not well be; the injury done to God's majesty being so great, that it could not stand with his honour to put it up without amends made. The particular application makes the sins of those to whom that mercy is vouchsafed to be actually pardoned : for, as all sins are mortal, in regard of the stipend due thereunto by the law, but all do not actually bring forth death, because the gracious promises of the Gospel stayeth the execution : even so all the sins of mankind are become venal, in respect of the price paid by Christ to his Father (so far, that in shewing mercy upon all, if so it were his pleasure, his justice should be no loser,) but all do not obtain actual remission, because most offenders do not take out, nor plead their pardon as they ought to do. If Christ had not assumed our nature, and therein made
a Ephes. chap. 2. ver. 2.
b Ibid. chap. 1. ver. 13.
satisfaction for the injury offered to the divine Majesty, God would not have come unto a treaty of peace
us, more than with the fallen angels, whose nature the Son did not assume : but this way being made, God holds out to us the golden sceptre of his word, and thereby not only signifieth his pleasure of admitting us unto his presence, and accepting of our submission, which is a wonderful grace, but also sends an embassage unto us, and
entreats us that we would be reconciled unto him.”
Hence, we infer against the first extremity, that by the virtue of this blessed oblation, God is made placable unto our nature (which he never will be unto the angelical nature offending) but not actually appeased with any, until he hath received his son, and put on the Lord Jesus. As also against the latter extremity, that all men may be truly said to have interest in the merits of Christ, as in a common, though all do not enjoy the benefit thereof, because they have no will to take it.
The well spring of life is set open unto all: “Whosoeverd will, let him take of the water of life freely," but many have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep, faith is a vessel whereby we draw all virtue from Christ, and the apostle tells us, that “ faithe is not of all.” Now the means of getting this faith is “the hearing of the word of truth, the Gospel of our salvation," which ministereth this general ground for every one to build his faith upon.
SYLLOGISM. What Christ hath prepared for thee, and the Gospel offereth unto thee, that oughtest thou with all thankfulness to accept, and apply to the comfort of thy own soul.
But Christ by his death and obedience hath provided a sufficient remedy for the taking away of all thy sins, and the Gospel offereth the same unto thee. Therefore thou oughtest to accept, and apply the same to the comfort of thine own soul.
Now this Gospel of salvation many do not hear at all,
c 2 Cor. chap. 5. ver. 20.
d Apoc. chap. 22. ver. 17.