July 30, 2007

William Perkins (1558–1602) Quotes from Silversides’ Book on the Free Offer

The benefits proper unto men are of two sorts: some are common to all men both good and bad, and some proper to the elect and faithful.
'An Exposition of the Creed,' in The Works of That Famous and Worthie Minister of Christ, in the Universitie of Cambridge, M.W.Perkins, (John Legat, Cambridge, 1605), p. 324.
...but the bond is conditional, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace: for we are bound to believe in Christ, if we would come to life everlasting...
'A Discourse of Conscience,' Works op. cit. p. 628.
and seriously bethink thyself of Christ, as he is revealed in the history of the Gospel, and as he is offered to thy particular person, in the ministry of the word and sacraments.
'A Declaration of the True Manner of Knowing Christ Crucified,' Works op. cit. p. 751.
Q. But to whom will this blessed King communicate all these means of salvation? A. He offereth them to many, and they are sufficient to save all mankind; but all shall not be saved thereby, because by faith they will not receive them.
'The Foundation of Christian Religion,' Works op. cit. p. 768.
There is but one will in God: yet doth it not equally will all things, but in divers respects it doth will and nill the same thing. He willeth the conversion of Jerusalem, in that he approveth it as a good thing in itself: in that he commands it, and exhorts men to it: in that he gives them all outward means of their conversion. He wills it not, in that he did not decree to effectually work their conversion.
'A Treatise of God's Free Grace and Man's Free Will,' Works op. cit. p. 876. Or see William Perkins, A Treatise of God's Free Grace, and Man's Free Will (Cambridge: Printed by John Legat And are to be sold at the signe of the Crowne in Pauls Churchyard by Simon Waterson, 1601), 44–45.
...the desolation of Jerusalem may be a glass to every one of us, who in these days of God's merciful visitation, set the ministry of the Gospel at nought.
William Perkins, 'A Treatise of God's Free Grace and Man's Free Will,' Works op. cit. p. 900.

These quotes can be found in David Silversides book The Free Offer: Biblical & Reformed (Glasgow, Scotland: Marpet Press, 2005), 94–95.

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One may gather from these quotes that Perkins believed:

1) God gives some "benefits" to all mankind, even the non-elect. This is the idea of common grace. 
2) The covenant of grace is conditional, because we must believe to gain eternal life, i.e. faith may be called a condition.
3) Christ is "offered" through the Gospel to all those that hear it proclaimed, even to the non-elect.
4) The means of salvation, which must include Christ's sacrifice, is "offered" to all and is "sufficient to save all mankind."
5) There are distinctions in God's will, such that he can be said to both will and not will the same thing in different respects.
6) God willed the "conversion" of all of Jerusalem, which included the non-elect Jews.
7) The gospel is God's "merciful visition" to all that are exposed to it.
8) Some "set the ministry of the gospel at nought."

July 26, 2007

William Cunningham (1805–1861) on God's Preceptive Will

Many of the events that take place, -- such as the sinful actions of men, -- are opposed to, or inconsistent with, His will as revealed in His law, which is an undoubted indication of what He wished or desired that men should do.
William Cunningham, Historical Theology, 2 vols. (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1994), 2:452.

Cunningham, another high or strict Calvinist, does not hesitate to refer to God's revealed or preceptive will as something God wishes or desires that men should do. In his view, God's revealed will is an "undoubted indication" of that.

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July 19, 2007

Samuel Rutherford (1600–1661) on the “Sweet Evangelick Invitation”

It’s much worthy of observation, how that sweet evangelick invitation is conceived, Isaiah 55:1, Ho, every one that thirsts; the Heb. word ‘hui‘ is alas, or ah, every one that thirsts, come to the waters, and he that hath no silver, come, buy, and eat: as if the Lord were grieved, and said, woe is me, alas that thirsty souls should die in their thirst, and will not come to the waters of life, Christ, and drink gratis, freely, and live. For the interjection, (Heb. Hui) Ho, is a mark of sorrowing… it expresseth two things, 1. A vehemencie, and a serious and unfeigned ardencie of desire, that we doe what is our duty, and the concatenation of these two, extremely desired of God, our coming to Christ, and our salvation: This moral connection between faith and salvation, is desired of God with his will of approbation, complacency, and moral liking, without all dissimulation, most unfeignedly; and whereas Arminians say, we make counterfeit, feigned, and hypocriticall desires in God, they calumniate and cavil egregiously, as their custom is. 2. The other thing expressed in these invitations, is a sort of dislike, grief, or sorrow; (‘tis a speech borrowed from man, for there is no disappointing of the Lord’s will, nor sorrow in him for the not fulfilling of it) … God loveth, approveth, the believing of Jerusalem, and of her children, as a moral duty, as the hen doth love to warm and nourish her chickens… but there is no purpose, intention, or decree of God holden forth in these invitations called his revealed will, by which he saith that he intendeth and willeth that all he maketh the offer unto, shall obey and be saved.
Samuel Rutherford, Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself (London: Printed by J. D. for Andrew Crooke at the Green-Dragon in Paul’s Church Yard, 1647), 443–444.

(HT: James Durham Thesis blog)

Donald, from the JDT blog, observes a number of important points from the above quote:
* Rutherford speaks of the gospel offer as a ‘sweet evangelick invitation’ showing he obviously believed it to be more than a mere presentation of facts or a command.

* Rutherford speaks in ‘a speech borrowed from men’ showing his willingness to speak as scripture speaks whilst at the same time guarding against abuse of scriptural expressions by noting their limitations.

* Rutherford uses desire in connection with the revealed will of God and the gospel invitation.

* Rutherford was aware of the charge of inconsistency levelled against his views of ‘sweet evangelick invitations’ and election by Arminians. He rejected this charge outright.
Update on July 23rd: My point in posting this quote by Rutherford is to show that he, a high supralapsarian Calvinist and one of the Scottish Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly, did not hesitate to refer God's revealed will as indicating a "vehement," "unfeigned," "serious," "ardent" and "extreme desire" that we, all of humanity, "come to Christ" for "salvation." Even Turretin, a staunch anti-Amyraldian and high Calvinist (though he was an infralapsarian), referred to God's preceptive will as a "desire."

July 2, 2007

Thomas Watson (c.1620–1686) on God's Mercy

Even the worst taste of God's mercy; such as fight against God's mercy taste of it; the wicked have some crumbs from mercy's table. "The Lord is good to all." Sweet dewdrops are on the thistle as well as on the rose. The diocese where mercy visits is very large. Pharaoh's head was crowned though his heart was hardened.
Thomas Watson, A Body of Practical Divinity (Aberdeen: George & Robert King, 1838), 95.

Found in Spurgeon's The Treasury of David on Psalm 145:9

NKJ Psalm 145:9 The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.