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one should publish any thing in writing or preaching on the questions controverted between the Calvinists and the Remonstrants.
These knotty and thorny questions, Whether the death of Christ is a universal remedy, that is, applicable to all, or whether it is a particular remedy, destined for the elect alone; whether there is an election of some persons to glory, and on the contrary, a preterition of others; whether election is from the mere good pleasure of God, or only from merits foreseen and conditionally: these knotty points, I say, no one hath explained better than this Author. Therefore, take and read him, and I am much deceived indeed, if you will not confess that he has satisfied you. Why should I say more? To give you a foretaste, you have here, in
Chap. 1: An historical and not unacceptable narrative of the rise and origin of the question which is to be discussed concerning the death of Christ, and its intended latitude or extent. Then, in
Chap. 2: A Thesis concerning the death of Christ as a universal cause of salvation applicable to all men is confirmed by arguments. In
Chap. 3: It is vindicated from the objections of adversaries. In
Chap. 4: You will find a most lucid explanation of the distinction, for all men sufficiently, for the elect alone effectually, &c.
I omit the other Chapters, which you will understand better by reading the work itself.
Another Tract is added, which was written on occasion of a Controversy which arose among the Reformed Divines of France, On the gracious and saving will of God towards sinful men. The opinion
of the Divines of England was desired on that question, because it seemed likely to contribute not a little towards establishing peace. In the Appendix, therefore, is the opinion of Dr. Davenant on that Gallican Controversy, which having been written with his own hand, and presented by his Nephew to the Most Rev. Archbishop of Armagh, we have taken care to place at the end of the book. Enjoy them, Candid Reader, and farewell.
DEATH OF CHRIST.
ON THE ORIGIN OF THE CONTROVERSY.
IT is truly a matter of grief and exceedingly to be deplored, that either from the misfortune or the disorder of our age, it almost always happens, that those mysteries of our religion, which were promulgated for the peace and comfort of mankind, should be turned into materials for nothing but contention and dispute. Who could ever have thought that the death of Christ, which was destined to secure peace and destroy enmity, as the Apostle speaks, Ephes. ii. 14, 17, and Coloss. i. 20, 21, could have been so fruitful in the production of strife? But this seems to arise from the innate curiosity of men, who are more anxious to scrutinize the secret councils of God, than to embrace the benefits openly offered to them. Hence it comes to pass that from too much altercation on the points, For whom did Christ die, and for whom did He not die? little is thought by mankind individually of applying to ourselves the death of Christ, by a true and lively faith, for the salvation of our own souls. It is my intention in treating of this subject to endeavour rather to appease strife than to excite it anew. Since, therefore, it is conceded by those who extend the death of Christ to all mankind generally, that as to its beneficial reception it is applied only to certain persons in particular; and since on the other hand, those who restrain it to the elect alone, confess notwithstanding that its benefits extend to all that are called, yea, to all men if they would believe; both sides seem to acknowledge a twofold consideration of the death of Christ. For by both of them it is regarded as an universal cause of salvation applicable to all mankind individually if they should believe, and as a special cause of salvation applied effectually to certain persons in particular who have believed. If I should treat of the death of Christ under this twofold view, it will perhaps appear that in some things which are contested with eagerness, there are rather various modes of speaking than different opinions. I shall commence therefore with certain short and perspicuous propositions, first, those which are brought forward concerning the death of Christ as an universal cause of salvation applicable to all mankind; and then I shall add other propositions on the death of Christ as a special cause of salvation applied efficaciously to certain persons, or at least infallibly to be applied in God's own time. Nor do I intend to enter into any contest, but to give a plain and calm exposition of the whole subject; not intending to engage with any disputant; unless he should oppose us in such a manner that we could not otherwise open the way to the discovery of the truth, than by contending with him, But before I bring forward the above-mentioned propositions, I shall premise some things concerning the origin of this controversy, and the sentiments of the Fathers respecting it, and other similar matters, which may seem necessary to the thorough understanding of the history of this controversy. For as in order to the cure of diseases it is of primary importance to be well acquainted with their origin and causes; so likewise in order to settle controversies, it is an essential advantage thoroughly to understand on what occasion they arose, by whom they were contested, in what manner and how far they were agitated by the antients. Let us therefore apply ourselves to a concise elucidation of this business.