The

CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH.

Part 1

Section 36—Romans 14:15.

Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.


These words are frequently[1] used in favor of universal redemption, and to prove that Christ died not only for the elect, for his sheep, and true believers, but also for them that perish; and the argument from them is formed[2] thus: "If Christ died for them that perish, and for them that do not perish, he died for all. But Christ died for them that perish, and for them that do not perish; ergo,he died for all men. That he died for them that do not perish, is confessed by all; and that he died for such as may, or shall perish, is intimated in this injunction; destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died." But whether so much is intimated hereby, will be seen when the following things are considered;

1. That the injunction, destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died,does not intend eternal destruction; since that can never be thought to be either in the will or the power of those on whom this is enjoined. Such a degree of malice and wickedness surely can never arise in the heart of any to wish for, desire, and take any steps towards the eternal damnation of others; what comes nearest to such an instance, is the Jews' prohibition of the apostles, to speak to the Gentiles, that they might be saved (1 Thess. 2:16); which discovered implacable and inveterate malice indeed; but surely nothing of this kind could ever be among brethren of the same faith, and in the same church state; and were any so wicked as to desire the eternal destruction of another, yet it is not in his power to compass it; none can eternally destroy but God; fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28). Besides, is it reasonable to suppose, or conclude, that eternal damnation should follow upon eating and drinking things indifferent, as herbs, meat and wine, or be caused by an offense given and taken through these things? Therefore, unless it can be proved, that eternal destruction did or might ensue upon the use of things indifferent; or that weak brethren might or were so ensnared, offended, and stumbled hereby, as to perish eternally, there is no force in the argument.

2. It will appear from the context, that the destruction of the weak brother dehorted from, is not the eternal destruction of his person; but the present destruction, interruption, or hindrance of his peace, and comfort. To destroy the brother with meat,is, by eating it, to put a stumbling, or an occasion to fall in his way (v. 13); not to fall from the grace and favor of God; but so as that the peace of his mind may be broken, his affections to the brethren wax cold, and he be staggered in the doctrines of the gospel: hence says the apostle, It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth or is offended, or is made weak (v. 21); to do which, is contrary to Christian charity; if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably; yea, it is destroying the work of God (v. 20); not the Christian convert, who is God's workmanship; nor the good work of grace,which will be performed until the day of Christ;nor the work of faith, which will never fail;[3] but the work of peace in churches, and particular persons, which God is the author of, and which the things that make for it, saints should follow after (v. 19). Now a weaker brother, for whom Christ has died, may be thus grieved, distressed, wounded, his peace destroyed, and yet not eternally perish;. and so can be no instance of Christ's dying for such as may be or are eternally lost. The apostle's design in this dehortation, is manifestly this; partly from the interest Christ has in, and the love he has showed to such brethren in dying for them; and partly from the hurt that may be done to their weak minds and consciences, to deter stronger believers from giving them any offense by their free use of things indifferent; though he knew their eternal salvation could not be in any danger thereby.


ENDNOTES:

[1] Remonstr. in Coll. Hag. art. 2, p. 132; Act Synod. p. 346, etc.; Curcellaeus, 50:6, c. 4, sec. 7, p. 360; Limborch, 50:4, c. 3, sect. 9, p. 321.

[2] Whitby, p. 138; ed. 2. 235.

[3] Vid. Whitby, p. 436, 442; ed. 2. 425, 431.


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