Skip to content

Calamy and Seaman on the Removal of Legal Obstacles

January 14, 2009

From the Minutes of the Westminster Assembly:

Mr. Calamy–I am far from universal redemption in the Arminian sense; but that that I hold is in the sense of our divines in the Synod of Dort, 2 that Christ did pay a price for all–absolute intention for the elect, conditional intention for the reprobate in case they do believe,–that all men should be salvabiles, non obstante lapsu Adami… that Jesus Christ did not only die sufficiently for all, but God did intend, in giving of Christ, and Christ in giving Himself, did intend to put all men in a state of salvation in case they do believe.

Mr. Palmer–He would distinguish from the Arminians; they say all equally redeemed, but not so the other, and

Mr. Reynolds–This opinion cannot be asserted by any that can say he is not of the Remonstrants’ opinion… upon a condition that they cannot perform, and God never intends to give them.

Mr. Calamy–The Arminians hold that Christ did pay a price for this intention only, that all men should be in an equal state of salvation. They say Christ did not purchase any impetration…. This universality of Redemption] doth neither intrude upon either doctrine of special election or special grace.

Mr. Seaman–It is nothing whether the opinion of Remonstrants or not. We must debate the truth and falsehood of it…. He doth not say a salvability quoad homines, but quoad Deum … so far reconciled Himself to the world, that He would have mercy on whom He would have mercy.

Mr. Palmer–I desire to know whether he will understand it de omni homine.

Mr. Calamy–De adultis.

Mr. Whitakers…

Mr. Young–This controversy, when first started in the Church, they used a distinction: they said it was pro natura humana…. In the application he expresseth it only electis. Some speak of the former branch as that…

Mr. Gillespie–Nothing to the thing itself; but for the state of the question, let more be looked upon than that expressed in the proposition, because there is a concatenation of the death of Christ with the decrees; therefore we must see what they hold concerning that which in order goes before and what in order follows after…. Camero[n] saith for all upon condition of believing, but Amyrauld he hath drawn it further. . . . Whether he hold an absolute reprobation of all that shall not be saved…. A parte post what follows upon that conditional redemption.

Mr. Calamy–In the point of election, I am for special election; and for reprobation, I am for massa corrupta…. Those to whom He… by virtue of Christ’s death, there is ea administratio of grace to the reprobate, that they do willfully damn themselves. I neither hold sufficient grace nor special grace.

Mr. Marshall–For order, you shall not need to know what this or that man’s opinion is; if you dispute the thesis, you will state it so as that it rejects all contrary opinions.

Mr. Reynolds–The Synod intended no more than to declare the sufficiency of the death of Christ; it is pretium in se, of sufficient value to all, nay, ten thousand worlds. There are two Adams, one a fountain of misery, and the other of mercy…. To be salvable is a benefit, and therefore belongs only to them that have interest in Christ.

Mr. Seaman–All in the first Adam were made liable to damnation, so all liable to salvation in the second Adam.

Alex Mitchell and John Struthers, Minutes of the Sessions of the Westminster Assembly of Divines (London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1874), 152-154. C.f., Chad B. Van Dixhoorn’s new edition of the minutes, Reforming the Reformation: Theological Dabate at the Westminster Assembly, 1643-1652, 6:202-204.

[Notes:  1) Today we are used to the language of ‘legal obstacles removed.’ However, in early Reformed thought this idea was expressed in different ways. One of these ways was by way of affirming that all men, from God’s side, are now made savable. Another way of expressing this was through the doctrine of universal reconciliation, as God, through the death of Christ, is now reconciled to the world, even though not all are reconciled to God.  2) Regarding Calamy’s expression that ‘Christ died for all in case they do believe,’ that is exactly what the Assembly’s Prolocutor had taught. The irony is, when the Scottish delegates were sailing down to London, a North Sea storm forced them to land in Holland. While there, some of Amyraut’s opponents asked them to appeal to Twisse to publically condemn this sort of theology {See Van Stam The Controversy Over the Theology of Saumur, 1635-1650, p., 231}.  3) What is also interesting here are the lines of thoughts from Calamy and Seaman’s two key opponents, Reynolds and Gilespie. Of special interest is Reynolds’ claim that only the elect are made savable. This would have to follow from the doctrine of limited imputation of sin to Christ (ie., limited expiation). In this case we are back to AA Hodge’s position of a hypothetical removal of legal obstacles between God and all mankind, for as in actuality, only the legal obstacles between God and the elect have been removed. The actual non-elect in this world are not savable. This hypothetical removal mirrors the corresponding idea of a hypothetical sufficiency of the atonement.  4) The other point to note is the two attempts to align Calamy and Seaman’s positions with Arminianism and Cameron and Amyraldianism (and an alleged ordering of the decrees).  To both attempts, Seaman and Marshall strongly object to the subtle ‘guilt by association’ strategy, and calls for his opponents to debate the issue on their own merits. Well said Mr Seaman. Well said Mr Marshall.]

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: