The

CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH.

Part 1

Section 47—Titus 2:11, 12.

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.


This scripture also appears among the very many clear and express ones,[1] in which the doctrine of universal redemption is thought to be contained. It is[2] observed, "That the grace here mentioned, is the grace of God,even of that God who spared not his Son, but freely gave him up for us;that it is styled hJ ca>riv hJ soth>riov, saving grace:and that this grace hath appeared to all men;" all which is readily granted. The argument formed on these observations stands thus; "If the apostles did in their preaching tender it (salvation) to all without exception, they either tendered it to them, to whom, by God's intention it did not belong, and so exceeded their commission, or else it belongs to all men; and since it could only belong to them by virtue of Christ's passion, it follows that the benefit of his passion must belong to all," What foundation there is in the text for such kind of reasonings, will be seen when it is considered,

1. That, by the grace of God,we are not to understand the grace which lies in his own heart, or his free love, favor, and goodwill to any of the sons of men through Christ; which, though it is productive of salvation, and instructive in real piety, yet does not appear, nor has it been, nor is it made manifest to all men; neither is that grace designed by it, which lies in the hearts of believers, being implanted there by the Spirit of God; for though this also brings salvation, or has it strictly connected with it, and powerfully influences the lives and conversations of such as are partakers of it; yet it neither has appeared to, nor in all men; for all men have not faith, nor hope, nor love, nor any other graces of the Spirit! but, by the grace of God,is meant the grace which lies in the Gospel, or which is the Gospel of the grace of God, in which sense it is often used; as in Acts 20:24, 2 Corinthians 6:1, and Hebrews 12:15; and is indeed owned to be the sense of it here by the learned author[3] I am concerned with. Now,

2. This doctrine of the grace of God bringeth salvation:it brings the news of it to the ears of men, in the external ministration of it, and brings that itself to the hearts of men, under the powerful influences and application of the Spirit of God; and so may be rightly called saving grace,as being the power of God unto salvation to all them that believe;though it is not, nor was it designed to be so, to all to whom it is externally preached; nor does the text say that it brings salvation to all men; and if it did, or if it should be rendered, as it is by some, the grace of God that bringeth salvation to all men;to which agrees the: Syriac version, lk tyjm, that quickeneth or saveth all; so the Arabic; this cannot be understood of every individual person, every man and woman; for the Gospel has not brought salvation to every one, in any sense; not in the external ministry of it, for there have been multitudes who have never so much as heard the outward sound of salvation by Jesus Christ, and fewer still who have had an application of it to their souls by the Spirit of God: to many to whom it has come, it has been a hidden gospel, and the savior of death unto death.

3. It is indeed said, that this doctrine of the grace of God hath appeared to all men;but by all men cannot be meant every man and woman that has been in the world, for it would not be true that the grace of God has appeared to all in this sense. The whole Gentile world, for many hundred years, was in darkness, without the light of the Gospel; it neither shined upon them, nor in them: in the times of the apostles, when the doctrine of the Gospel appeared the most illustrious, and shone out most extensively, as well as most clearly, it reached not every individual person, nor has it in ages since, nor does it in ours, no, not in our own nation; nor in this great city, where the Gospel is most fully preached; for of preachers, they are the fewest who preach the doctrine of the grace of God; and so of hearers, they are the fewest who attend unto and embrace this doctrine; multitudes know nothing of it, are under neither the form nor power of it. Since then, matter of fact stands incontestably against this sense of the words, we must look out for another. By all men,therefore, may be meant all sorts of men, men of every rank and condition of life, high and low, rich and poor, bond and free, masters and servants; which sense of the phrase well agrees with the context, in which the apostle charges Titus to exhort servants to be obedient to their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again, nor purloining, but showing all fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things (Titus 2:9, 10); and gives this as the reason of all, for the grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men,servants as well as masters; teaching us who have believed, whether we be masters or servants, of whatsoever state or condition, to live a godly and religious life, whilst we are in this world: or by all men,we may, with Dr. Hammond, understand the Gentiles, before the times of the apostles. The Gospel was like a candle lighted up in one part of the world, in Judea only; but now it shone out like the sun in its meridian glory, and appeared to all men, Gentiles as well as Jews; it was no longer confined to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,but preached to every creature under heaven;but though it appeared to all, it was not applied to all, though it shined out upon them all, yet not into the hearts of them all; nor is this universal appearance of the Gospel, in the external ministration of it, any proof of universal redemption, nor was it so designed by the apostle; and it is easy to observe, that when he comes to speak of redemption, and the persons redeemed in verse 14, he makes use of a different form of expression; where he says, who gave himself for us, not for them,[4] or for all; that he might redeem us,not them,or all men, from all iniquity; and purify unto himself a peculiar,distinct people, zealous of good works.The argument above cited, is founded on a manifest falsehood, that the apostles tendered the saving grace of God to all men, without exception whereas they tendered it to none, but preached the Gospel to all, without any distinction of persons who came to hear it. The Armenians frequently argue from an universal offer of the Gospel to an universal redemption; such whose ministrations run in he strain of offers and tenders, would do well to consider this, and deliver themselves from this argument, who only are pinched by it.

4. The doctrine of the grace of God is represented as teaching us to deny ungodliness, and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.Observe, the apostle does not say, teaching them,all men, to whom it appeared, which is the sad mistake of a learned writer;[5] but teaching us,to whom it has come, not in word only, but in power; and so taught them not only doctrinally, but influentially, both negative and positive holiness; which lesson, all who learn will be undoubtedly saved, though not by learning this lesson, or doing these things, but by our Lord's salutary passion; to which things they are obliged by the grace of God and sufferings of Christ; though all men are not obliged by them, of which many are ignorant, but by the law of nature; from whence this absurdity therefore does not follow,[6] "that there are some yet, yea, the greatest part of Christians, who are not, on the account of this grace appearing to them, or of these sufferings, obliged to the performance of these duties." Since all men are not Christians, and all that are true and real Christians Christ suffered for, and the grace of God appeals to with powerful influences, engaging them to the discharge of these things.


ENDNOTES:

[1] Whitby, p. 113, ed. 2. III; Curcellaeus, p. 359.

[2] Ibid. p. 122; ed. 2. 119.

[3] Whitby, p. 165; ed. 2. 161.

[4] Whitby, p. 122; ed. 2. 119.

[5] Ibid. See also p. 51. 205; ed. 2. 200.

[6] Ibid. p. 123; ed. 2. 120.