Jul 17, 2011

The word All - John Bunyan

“All that the Father giveth me.” This word all, is often used in Scripture, and is to be taken more largely, or more strictly, even as the truth or argument, for the sake of which it is made use of, will bear. Wherefore, that we may the better understand the mind of Christ in the use of it here, we must consider, that it is limited and restrained only to those that shall be saved, to wit, to those that shall come to Christ; even to those whom he will “in no wise cast out.” Thus, also, the words all Israel, is sometimes to be taken, although sometimes it is taken for the whole family of Jacob. “And so all Israel shall be saved” (Rom 11:26). By all Israel here, he intendeth not all of Israel, in the largest sense; “for they are not all Israel which are of Israel;” “neither because they are of the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (Rom 9:6-8).

This word ALL, therefore, must be limited and enlarged, as the truth and argument, for the sake of which it is used, will bear; else we shall abuse Scripture, and readers, and ourselves, and all. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,” said Christ, “will draw ALL men unto me” (John 12:32). Can any man imagine, that by ALL, in this place, he should mean all and every individual man in the world, and not rather that all that is consonant to the scope of the place? And if, by being “lifted up from the earth,” he means, as he should seem, his being taken up into heaven; and if, by “drawing ALL men after him,” he meant a drawing them unto that place of glory; then must he mean by ALL men, those, and only those, that shall in truth be eternally saved from the wrath to come. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Rom 11:32). Here again you have all and all, two alls; but yet a greater disparity between the all made mention of in the first place, and that all made mention of the second. Those intended in this text are the Jews, even all of them, by the first all that you find in the words. The second all doth also intend the same people; but yet only so many of them as God will have mercy upon. “He hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” The all also in the text, is likewise to be limited and restrained to the saved, and to them only. But again; — The word “giveth,” or “hath given,” must be restrained, after the same manner, to the same limited number. “All that the Father giveth me.”...

“This is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39). “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28). “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. Thine they were, and thou gavest them me, and they have kept thy word; I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.” “Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:1,6,9,10,24).

All these sentences are of the same import with the text; and the alls and manies, those, they, &c., in these several sayings of Christ, are the same with all the given in the text. “All that the Father giveth.” So that, as I said before, the word ALL, as also other words, must not be taken in such sort as our foolish fancies or groundless opinions will prompt us to, but do admit of an enlargement or a restriction, according to the true meaning and intent of the text. We must therefore diligently consult the meaning of the text, by comparing it with other the sayings of God; so shall we be better able to find out the mind of the Lord, in the word which he has given us to know it by.

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