The objection which the Arminians offer is frivolous: 'that there is a twofold intercession of Christ: one universal, which is made for the whole world, of which intercession Isaiah speaks, 53.12, and agreeably to which He is said to have prayed for His murderers, Luke 23.34; another particular, which is made for believers only, which is spoken of, John 9 and Rom. 8.'
The objection rests not on any foundation, either in Scripture or reason.
As Christ is always heard and answered by the Father, John 11.42, if He prays for all, all will be saved. The doctrine of universal intercession is not taught by the Prophet Isaiah, where he says, 'he made intercession for the transgressors,' Isa. 12; for it is not said that He made intercession for all, but for many whose character is delineated by the prophet, in a preceding verse, as those who shall be justified by Christ.
It is not said, Luke 23.4, that He prayed for all those who crucified Him, but for those who knew not what they did; and we are assured that these obtained pardon, no doubt the fruit of the prayer which Christ offered up on the cross to the Father, Acts 2.3.
Nor if Christ, through the impulse of humane affections of love, prayed for those who perished, is it to be considered that the intercessory prayers, which He offered as Mediator and in the discharge of His special office, are to be extended to others than the elect given Him by the Father. To the elect Christ Himself restricts His intercessory prayers.
3. The inseparable connection between the gift of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit bears the most conclusive testimony to the definite atonement.
As these two gifts, the most excellent which God has bestowed on us, are always in Scripture joined together as cause and effect, John 16.7, Gal. 4.4, 6, Rom. 8.9, 1 John 3.24, they must be of equal extent and go together; so that the Son is not given to acquire salvation for any others than those to whom the Spirit was given to apply the salvation procured. No reason can be assigned why the gift of the Son should be more extensive than the gift of the Holy Spirit.
It is plain that the Holy Spirit is given to none but the elect. Hence, if there be any harmony between the work of the Son and that of the Holy Spirit, in the economy of salvation, Christ was given to die for the elect, and for them only. Pertinent to this purpose is the argument of the Apostle Paul, in which, from the giving of Christ, he infers the communication of every blessing. 'He that spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?' Rom. 8.32.
The apostle reasons from the greater to the less. Surely He who gave His Son, which incontrovertibly was the greater gift, will not refuse to give us faith and all other saving blessings, which are the less; and this the rather, because Christ, by delivering Himself up, has merited for us, together with salvation, all those gifts. Whence the conclusion is inevitable: either all those blessings shall be given to the reprobate, if Christ died for them; or if they are not given them, which is granted by all, then Christ did not die for them, i.e., He did not die for all.
This is not answered by alleging that the apostle speaks of Christ's being given in a special manner to the believers. For, as was said above, the supposition of a universal giving is gratuitous, and nowhere countenanced in Scripture; and since faith is a fruit of Christ's death, it cannot be a condition antecedent to His death. Further, since, according to the order which is laid down by our learned opponents themselves, the decree concerning Christ's death was antecedent to the decree relative to bestowing faith; it is inconceivable how at one and the same time, and in the self-same simple act, Christ could be delivered up for all, and for some only.
4. Another argument is, the superlative love of Christ towards those for whom He died. He loved them with the most ardent affection. Greater love has no one, than that one should lay down his life for his friend, John 15.13. In the same exalted strain does the Apostle Paul extol the love of Christ: he speaks of it as truly wonderful and unheard of among men. 'Scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would dare even to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us', Rom. 5.7, 8.
But this cannot be said of all men, and every man.