Part 1

Section 371 Corinthians 8:11.

And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

These words are commonly joined with the former, and produced for the same purposes, both to prove that Christ died for such as perish, and that true believers may totally and finally fall away.[1] What has been said under the preceding section, might be sufficient to lead us into the true sense of this text, which is parallel with the other, and so remove any argument or objection taken from hence. But not to let it pass without particular examination, let it be observed;

1. That as the text in Romans 14:15, is a dehortation, or an injunction not to destroy him with meat, for whom Christ died; this is delivered out in the form of all interrogation; and neither the one nor the other prove matter of fact, supposing they could be understood of eternal destruction and ruin; as that any one brother, who was a true believer, was destroyed, or perished eternally this way; and at most, only imply the danger and possibility thereof, through their own corruptions, Satan's temptations, and the offenses given by stronger brethren; were they not preserved by the grace and power of God, through Christ, who died for them, and so will not suffer them to perish.

2. The perishing of this weak brother, is to be understood of, and is explained by, a defiling of his conscience (v. 7); a wounding of it (v. 12); and making him to offend,(v. 13), by the imprudent abuse of Christian liberty in those who had stronger faith, and greater knowledge, and by a participation in things offered to idols, in an idol's temple (vv. 7, 10); and not of his eternal damnation in hell, which could never enter into the apostle's thoughts; since he says (v. 8), Meat commendeth us not to God; for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. Hence we have no need to return for answer, to arguments formed on these texts; that these weak brethren, of whom it is supposed that they might perish, being under a profession of religion, men were obliged, from a judgment of charity, to believe that Christ died for them, though he might not, or that others may be said to destroy, or cause them to perish, though their destruction followed not; because they did all that in them lay towards it, and what in its own nature tended to it; and therefore we are not concerned with the replies made unto such answers, which we shall not undertake to defend.

3. This text proves, that Christ died for weak brethren, whose consciences may be defiled, wounded, and offended, through the liberty others might take, and in this sense, perish; but does not prove that Christ died for any besides his sheep, his church; or those who are eventually true believers; for which the Remonstrants[2] cite it; for surely a brother who is truly one, though weak, is a sheep of Christ, a member of his church, and a believer; and therefore can be no instance of Christ's dying for any reprobates, and still less for all mankind.

4. Such for whom Christ died, can never finally, totally, and eternally perish; since he has, by his death, procured such blessings for them, as a justifying righteousness, pardon of sin, peace with God, reconciliation to him, and eternal salvation; which will for ever secure them from perishing. Besides, should any of them perish in this sense, his death would be so far in vain; nor could the death of Christ be thought to be a sufficient security from condemnation; whereas the apostle says, Who shall condemn? it is Christ that died:nor a full satisfaction to the justice of God; or God must be unjust to punish twice for the same faults.


[1] Whitby, p. 138, 436, 442; ed. 2. 135, 425,431.

[2] In Coll. Hag. art. 2, p. 173.

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