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Scudd Missle

October 28, 2007

“8. Some others go farther: they acknowledge that God’s justice must be satisfied, and they think it is satisfied for them, dreaming of universal redemption, by Christ, who indeed is said to die to “take away the sins of the world.” This causeth their conscience to be quiet, notwithstanding that they live in sin.

It must be granted, that Christ gave himself a ransom for all. This ransom may be called general, and for all, in some sense: but how? namely, in respect of the common nature of man, which he took, and of the common cause of mankind, which he undertook; and in itself it was of sufficient price to redeem all men; and because applicable to all, without exception, by the preaching and ministry of the gospel. And it was so intended by Christ, that the plaster should be as large as the sore, and that there should be no defect in the remedy, that is, in the price, or sacrifice of himself offered upon the cross, by which man should be saved, but that all men, and each particular man, might in that respect become salvable by Christ.

Yet doth not the salvation of all men necessarily follow hereupon; nor must any part of the price which Christ paid, be held to be superfluous, though many be not saved by it.

But know, that the application of the remedy, and the actual fruit of this all-sufficient ransom, redoundeth to those who are saved only by that way and means which God was pleased to appoint, which, in the case of adults, is faith, by which Christ is actually applied. Which condition, many to whom the gospel doth come, make impossible to themselves, through a wilful refusal of the gospel, and salvation itself by Christ, upon those terms which God doth offer it.

Upon this sufficiency of Christ’s ransom, and intention of God and Christ, that it should be sufficient to save all, is founded that general offer of Christ to all and to each particular person, to whom the Lord shall be pleased to reveal the gospel: likewise that universal precept of the gospel, commanding every man to repent, and believe in Christ Jesus; as also the universal promise of salvation, made to every one that shall believe in Christ Jesus.

    Although, in one sense, it is true, Christ may be said to have died for all, yet let no one think to enjoy the benefits of his precious death and sacrifice, without serious diligence to make their calling and election sure. For God did intend this all-sufficient price for all, otherwise to his elect in Christ, than to those whom he passed by and not elected; for he intended this not only out of a general and common love to mankind, but out of a peculiar love to his elect. He gave not Christ equally and alike to save all; and Christ did not so lay down his life for the reprobate as for the elect. Christ so died for all, that his death might be applicable to all. He so died for the elect, that his death might be actually applied unto them. He so died for all, that they might have an object of faith, and that if they should believe in Christ, they might be saved. But he so died for the elect that they might actually believe, and be saved. Hence it is that Christ’s death becometh effectual to them, and not to the other, though sufficient for all. Now that many believe not, they having the means of faith, the fault is in themselves, through their wilfulness or negligence; but that any believe to salvation, is of God’s grace, attending his election, and Christ’s dying out of his especial love for them; and not of the power of man’s free-will: God sending his gospel, and giving the grace of faith and new obedience to those whom of his free grace he hath ordained to eternal life, both where he pleaseth and when he pleaseth.

Furthermore, it must be considered that notwithstanding the all-sufficiency of Christ’s death, whereby the new covenant of grace is ratified and confirmed, the covenant is not absolute, but conditional. Now what God proposeth conditionally, no man must take absolutely. For God hath not said that all men without exception shall be saved by Christ’s death: although he saith, Christ died for all; but salvation is promised to those only who repent and believe.

Wherefore, notwithstanding Christ’s infinite merit, whereby he satisfied for mankind; and notwithstanding the universality of the offer of salvation to all to whom the gospel is preached; both scripture and experience show, that not all, nor yet the most, shall be saved, and that because the number of them who repent, and unfeignedly believe, whereby they make particular and actual application of Christ and his merits to themselves, are fewest. For of those many that are called, few are chosen. Wherefore let none ignorantly dream of an absolute, universal redemption, as many simple people do. For though Christ be said to suffer to take away the sins of the whole world, yet the scripture saith, that the whole world of unbelievers and of ungodly men shall perish eternally.”

Henry Scudder, The Christian’s Daily Walk in Security and Peace  repint. (Glasgow: William Collins, 1826), 279-282.

Credit to Tony for finding this.  Scudder was one of the divines at Westminster. The comments here have echoes of Davenant; and the idea of a conditional atonement echoes Zanchi, Twisse and/or Amyraut. To note, the idea of the removal of legal obstacles and making all men savable was rejected by Turretin and other high Calvinists.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. kymanika permalink
    October 29, 2007 12:32 pm

    If that does not convince, nothing will.

  2. Flynn permalink
    October 29, 2007 1:34 pm

    Hey Josh,

    Naa it wont convince. There is this argument that somehow Reformed theology evolved. Thus, for example, when I show 16thC Reformed heavy-hitters affirming this stuff, one of the stock-standard responses is that “true” Reformed theology evolved and was canonised in the 17thC. When I show theologians from the 17thC, well we evolved later, or these folk were deviant.

    The measuring stick of orthodox is an apriori, which exists separate from the empirical data. The documentation we post is according deconstructed, and then shuffled off to the side.

    This apriori also has predetermined one reading of the WCF standards, and more generally, what it means to “be” Reformed, apart from an actual understanding of the then consensus of what it meant to be Reformed in the 17thC. Clearly the leaders of 17thC English Presbyterianism considered the body of Reformed to be much wider than people do today. For example, folk like Howe, Charnock, and others were considered leaders of the English Presbyterian Reformed party in the 17thC. There was no doubt about their orthodoxy.

    Whats good about the Scudder comment is that all the language is there, general and common love, satisfactions for all men, sins of the world, etc. It is all laid out. What is also good is that for the longest time, the standard lopside historiography of the Nicole tradition tries to isolated the famous 6 “Amyraldians” and imply that the rest of the WCF divines were “orthodox.” This research is showing that such a simplistic and shallow compartmentalization is false and misleading.

    And of course, if modern calvinist historiography has screwed up on 17thC English Calvinism, and 16thC Reformed theology in general, could it be they have also screwed up on Calvin! Perish the thought. :-)


  3. October 29, 2007 8:21 pm

    We at least have about 13 known moderates (on the atonment) at Westminster so far. These are John Arrowsmith, Jeremy Burroughs, Edmund Calamy, Joseph Caryl, Robert Harris, Stephen Marshall, Edward Reynolds, Obadiah Sedgwick, Lazarus Seaman, Henry Scudder, William Strong, William Twisse and Richard Vines. If Curt Daniel’s report is correct regarding 1/3 at the assembly being dualistic and/or universalists of sorts, then we have about 33 more men to find :) We’re working on it.

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