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Richard Baxter (1615-1691) On the Sufficiency of Christ’s Death (Sample)

June 18, 2009

Baxter:

1) 11. Christ is a sufficient Savior, able and willing to save only those that he died for. Supposing that he satisfied not for any Man, he is not sufficient or willing to save that Man though he should believe. How can it be said that by the sufficiency of his Ransom he is able to save them, for whom it was no Ransom? Indeed the sufficiency of Christ’s satisfaction is on principal object of that part of Faith which consists in Assent. But I shall show anon, that if any Man be bound to believe Christ’s satisfaction sufficient to justify him for whom it was never paid, he is bound to believe an untruth.  Richard Baxter, Universal Redemption of Mankind by the Lord Jesus Christ, (London: Printed for John Salusbury at the Rising Sun in Cornhill, 1694), 115-116.

2) Arg. 9th A Sufficientia pretii pro omnibus.

If Christ died for all men quad sufficientiam pretii, then he has satisfied for all. But he died for all men, quoad sufficientiam pretii Ergo, &c. The Minor is maintained by the generality of our Ancienter Protestant Divines, who use ordinarily this distinction to solve the doubt, whether Christ died for all? viz., he died for al sufficiently, and for the Elect only effectually. And indeed this one distinction rightly understand, and this answer thence fitted, is most full and apt for the resolution of the question. The Schoolmen go the same way. The consequence of the Major proposition is acknowledged by our late most rigid Anti-Arminians, who on that reason deny the Minor. For our new Divines have utterly forsaken the old common opinion, and in stead of saying [Christ died for all men sufficienter] they will not so much as say that [His Death was sufficiens pretium pro omnibus.] For all our former Divines (and the most of these times; so far as I can discern) who acknowledge that Christ died for all men quoad sufficientiani pretii, and for the Elect quoad efficaciam; they say the same, and as much as I, and therefore I need not say much more to them.  Richard Baxter, Universal Redemption of Mankind by the Lord Jesus Christ, (London: Printed for John Salusbury at the Rising Sun in Cornhill, 1694), 133-134. [Contents within square brackets original.]

3) 2. But let us come to the first effects of Christ’s Death, and see whether it were sufficient to that, viz., to be a satisfaction for the sins of all: And here they do maintain that it is only materially or aptitudinally sufficient, (as the money which my rich neighbor  has in his purse, is sufficient to pay my debt, which he resolved never to pay: Or as the Ransom paid for one man, was enough to have redeemed another also, if it had been paid for him.) And what the better difference (as to their ransom) between most men, and Devils?  For the form of a satisfaction or Price for all, they affirm, that Christ’s Death has it not sufficiently or at all. These men must once men therefore new model their Doctrine, or reform their expressions, and give over saying [Christ’s death is sufficient for the pardon of all if the would believe,] for that is notoriously false (according to them), seeing the effecting of satisfaction, is that wherein the sufficiency of it likes as to remission: But they must hereafter say only that [Christ’s Death was sufficient to have procured pardon for all men, if he would have suffered it for all.] And I will give them this encouragement so far to innovate, viz., though they speak not only against Scripture and the Primitive Fathers, and the Church of Christ of all Ages, and the generality of our most severe Protestant Divines…  Richard Baxter, Universal Redemption of Mankind by the Lord Jesus Christ, (London: Printed for John Salusbury at the Rising Sun in Cornhill, 1694), 141-142. [Contents within square brackets original.] [C.f., Baxter’s reply to Owen on this point on pages 138-140.]

4) Obj. All may be said to be ready, in that Christ’s Death is sufficient for All.

Ans. That’s true; and I desire no more; if you understand it as Divines have hitherto done, and as this Text proves it; that is, that it is a sufficient Ransom, Sacrifice, &c. for All. But according to the new futile evasion, it is false, viz. that Christ’s Death was only sufficient to have been a Sacrifice or Ransom for All, if God or Christ had so been willing: but indeed was no Ransom for them at all. For is this making all ready? Is Christ any readier for those he died not for, than for the Devils? or than if he had never died at all? Will you send to a Prisoner and say, I have paid 1000£. for thy fellow Prisoner that owed by 500£. the sum is sufficient to have discharged thy debt too, if I had ever intended it, therefore come and receive a discharge, for all is ready? Or will you bid your Servant go to all the Town and say, I have killed and dressed meat enough for you all, resolving that some of you shall never taste of it on any conditions, therefore come now and partake of it all, for all things are ready? The Readiness that Christ speaks of here is such, as supposeth all things to be ready except receiving by Faith: nothing but coming is wanting. Richard Baxter, Universal Redemption of Mankind by the Lord Jesus Christ, (London: Printed for John Salusbury at the Rising Sun in Cornhill, 1694), 345.

[Note: The above is just a sample of Baxter’s treatment on the sufficiency of Christ’s death for all men, or not.  Italics original, underlining mine. Content within brackets original.]

Credit to Tony for #4.

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