The
CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH.

Part 4
Chapter 2—Of Redemption

Section 6—Irenaeus. A.D. 180.


Irenaeus, when speaking of the incarnation and passion of Christ, and of redemption by his blood, frequently restrains them to certain persons of such and such characters; which evidently shows, that he did not think that these belong to all the individuals of mankind in common. Thus, treating of the coming of Christ, and of the end of his coming into the world, he says,[1] that "he came to save all by himself, omnes inquam, qui per eum renascuntur in Deum,all, I say, who through him are born again unto God, infants, and little ones, and children, and young men, and old men." And in another place,[2] taking notice of God's suffering Jonah to be swallowed up by a whale, and of his after deliverance; "So," says he, "God from the beginning suffered man to be swallowed up by the great whale, who was the author of transgression; not that being swallowed up he should wholly perish, but providing and preparing a plan of salvation which is effected by the word, through the sin of Jonah; his qui eandem cum Jona de Deo sententiam habuerunt for them who have the same sentiments concerning God with Jonah; and have confessed and said, I am the Lord's servant, I worship the Lord God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land; that man enjoying the unhoped-for salvation from God, might rise from the dead and glorify him." And elsewhere proving, that the Father of Christ is the same that was spoken of by the prophets; and that when Christ came he acknowledged no other but him, who was declared from the beginning. He adds,[3] a quo libertatem detulit his qui legitime et prono animo, et toto corde deserviunt ei, "from whom he brought deliverance to them who serve him truly, with a ready mind, and with all their hearts;" but to the despisers of him, and such who are not subject to God, sempiternam attulit perditionem abscindens eos a vita,"he hath brought everlasting destruction, cutting them off from life." So far was he from thinking that Christ died to redeem all mankind, that he expressly says, that the death of Christ is the damnation of some; his words are these;[4] "As they (the Israelites) through the blindness of the Egyptians, so we, through the blindness of Jews, receive salvation; siquidem mors Domino, eorum quidem qui cruci eum fixerunt et non crediderunt ejus adventum, damnatio est:seeing the death of the Lord is indeed the damnation of them that crucified him, and did not believe his coming; but the salvation of them that believe in him."And in another place,[5] where he makes Jacob a type of Christ, and Rachel of the church, he confines the obedience and sufferings of Christ to his church: "All things," says he, "he did for the younger Rachel, who had good eyes, quae praefigurabat ecclesiam, propter quam sustinuit Christus,who prefigured the church, for whom Christ endured, that is, sufferings and death." And a little after he has these words,[6] "Christ came not for the sake of them only who believed in him, in the times of Tiberius Caesar; nor did the Father provide for those men only who now are, but for all men entirely; qui ab initio secundum virtutem suam in sua generatione, et timuerunt et dilexerunt Deum, et juste et pie conversati sunt erga proximos, et concupierunt videre Christum et audire vocem ejus;who from the beginning, according to their virtue or ability, have feared and loved God in their generation, and have righteously and piously conversed with their neighbors, and have desired to see Christ, and hear his voice." The passages cited from this writer, by M. Daille,[7] for general redemption, have not one word about it, and at most only prove, that man is endued with free will, which, in some sense, is not denied; and that man, and not God, is the cause of his own imperfection, blindness, and destruction, which is readily agreed to. The citations made by the same author[8] out of Clemens Alexandrinus, do, indeed, express, in very general terms, the care of God and Christ over mankind, and their great regard unto and desire after their salvation; and also assert our Lord to be the Savior of all men, and seem to carry the point further than what is in controversy, even to the salvation of all; which, if it could once be established, we should readily come into the notion of general redemption, though in all these large expressions, Clement seems only to refer to the texts in Jude 1:3, 1 Timothy 2:4, and 1 Timothy 4:10, in the first of which the apostle speaks of the common salvation,all the saved ones share alike; in the next, of the will of God, that some of all sorts should be saved; and in the last, of God, as the preserver of all men, in a way of common, and particularly of believers, in a way of special providence; and after all, Clement[9] distinguishes between Christ's being a Savior of some, and a Lord of others; for he says,that he is ton pepis teukoton Soter, ton de apeithesanton Kurios,"the Savior of them that believe; but the Lord of them that believe not." And in one place[10] he has these words; "Wherefore, he (Christ,) is introduced in the gospel weary, who was weary for us, and promising to give his life a ransom, and polton,in the room of many."


ENDNOTES:

[1] Adv. Heres. 1. 2, c. 89, p. 191.

[2] Ibid. 1.3, c. 22, p. 289.

[3] Ibid. 1.4, c. 24, p. 342.

[4] Adv. Haeres, c. 47, p. 388.

[5] Ibid. 1.88, p. 376.

[6] Ibid. c. 39, p. 377.

[7] Page 759.

[8] Ibid. p. 760-764.

[9] Strom. 1.7, p. 703.

[10] Paedagog. 1. 1; c. 9, p. 126.