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Edward D. Griffin (1770-1837) on Calvin’s Doctrine of the Atonement and its Idenity with the Medieval “Schoolmen”

September 13, 2007

Griffin

TESTIMONY OF CALVIN, WATTS, AND OTHERS.

DOCTOR Watts says of Calvin, “that some of the most rigid and narrow limitations of grace to men are found chiefly in his Institutions, which were written in his youth : but his Comments on Scripture were the labours of his riper years and maturer judgment.”[1] With this remark he introduces the following Comments of that distinguished Reformer.

Mat. 26. 28. [“This is my blood of the New-Testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”] “Under the name of many he denotes, not a part of the world only, but the whole human race.” 1 Cor. 8.11,12. [“Through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish for whom Christ died.”] “If the soul of every weak person was the purchase of the blood of Christ, he that for the sake of a little meat plunges his brother again into death who was redeemed by Christ, shows at how mean a rate he esteems the blood of Christ.”

1 John 2. 2. [“He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world .”] “Here rt question is raised, how the sins of the whole world are atoned for. Some have said that Christ suffered for the whole world sufficiently, but for the elect alone efficaciously. This is the common solution of the schools: and though I confess this is a truth, yet I do not think it agrees to this place.”

2 Pet. 2. 1. [“There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift deconstruction.”] “Though Christ is denied in various ways, yet in my opinion Peter means the same thing here that Jude expresses, viz. that the grace of God is turned into lasciviousness. For Christ has redeemed us that he might have a people free from the defilements of the world, and devoted to holiness and innocence. Whosoever therefore shake off the yoke and throw themselves into all licentiousness, are justly said to deny Christ by whom they were redeemed.”

Jude 4. [“Turning the glace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”] “He means that Christ is really denied when those who were redeemed by his blood again enslave themselves to the devil, and as far as in them lies, make that incomparable price vain and effectual.”[2]

This is decisive as relates to Calvin ; and shows that in his maturer years his opinion was the same as that of the schoolmen and fathers before him and the same as that of the Calvinistic world a century after.

Edward D. Griffin, D.D. A Humble Attempt to Reconcile the Differences of Christians Respecting the Extent of the Atonement, by showing that the controversy which exists on the subject is Chiefly Verbal. To which is added An Appendix Exhibiting The Influence of Christ’s Obedienc, (New Jersey. New York: Stephen Dodge, 1819), 378-380. [Griffin was the pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Newark.]


[1] Watts’ Works, Vol. 6. p. 287. Note.

[2] Watts’ Works, Vol. 6. p. 267, 288.

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