September 28, 2008

Thomas Watson (c.1620–1686) on God's Patience, Mercy and Love

Branch 13. See the patience of God towards men. They persist in sinning—yet God bore with them and, many times, deferred judgment. Psalm 78:38, "Many a time He turned His anger away." How long did God bear with the old world? He strives with men by His Word and Spirit. He comes to them in a still small voice. He would win them with His love. "He waits to be gracious," Isaiah 30:18. God is not like a hasty creditor who requires the payment of the debt, and will give no time for the payment. Revelation 2:21, "I gave her space to repent." The Lord blows the trumpet a long time, before His vengeance is meted out. The wicked sin still—and God is patient still. 2 Peter 3:9, "He is long-suffering to us, not willing that any should perish.

God's Justice says, "Cut them down!"
God's Patience says, "Spare them a year longer!"

When God is going to strike, He waits so long, that He is weary of repenting, as the Prophet speaks, Jeremiah 15:6. We of this nation spin out our sins and God is yet patient. But He will not always be so. If we go on impatiently, the lease of patience will at last be run out. And the longer God is saving His blow, the heavier it will be.

God's patience has bounds set to it. There is a time when God will say, "My Spirit shall no longer strive," Revelation 14:7. The angel cried, "The hour of God's judgment has come," Ezekiel 30:3. Sodom was the wonder of God's patience—but now has been made a monument of His anger. The Lord may keep off the stroke for a long time—but if men are unreclaimable and persist in sinning, let them know that vengeance is not dead—but sleeping. Sins against God's patience, exceed the sins of the fallen angels. Therefore, the fiery furnace will be heated seven times hotter!
Thomas Watson, The Mischief of Sin (Pittsburgh, PA.: Soli Deo Gloria, 1994), 64–65.
Branch 16. See the sordid ingratitude of sinners. "They kept on sinning!" Notwithstanding the fact that they had such eminent and signal favors from God—the pillar of fire to lead them, the rock split to give them water—yet mercy could not, with all its oratory, prevail with them to leave their iniquities. "They kept on sinning!"

A father bribes his son to obedience by giving him money—yet he still goes on in dissolute courses. So God would draw men from sin by His mercies—yet they will indulge their lusts. Oh, how ungrateful! It is an ill nature—which will not be won with love. Beasts are wrought upon with kindness, Isaiah 1:3—but sinners are not. The wicked are worse for God's mercies. They, like vultures—draw sickness from these perfumes!

The wicked deal with God as we do with the Thames River. The Thames brings us in our riches—our gold, silks and spices—and we throw all our filth into the Thames. Just so do the wicked deal with God. He gives them all their mercies—and they commit their filthy sins against Him. "They kept on sinning!" Ingratitude is, as Bernard said, the enemy of salvation. If mercy is not a magnet to draw us nearer to God—it will be a millstone to sink us deeper into hell. Nothing so cold as lead—yet nothing more scalding when it is melted. Nothing is so sweet as God's mercy—yet nothing is so dreadful, when it is abused! Sinners never escape when mercy draws up their indictment.
Ibid., 66–67.

September 17, 2008

Observations from Richard Muller's Review of Jonathan Moore's Book

The following are observations taken from a review by Dr. Richard Muller on Jonathan Moore’s book English Hypothetical Universalism: John Preston and the Softening of Reformed Theology. This entire review was posted by David HERE.

Observe:

1) Dr. Richard Muller knows, like Moore, that John Preston taught that Christ died for the sins of the human race, even as John Davenant and James Ussher did.

2) He concedes that the Reformed side of the debate was variegated, such that it [the "Reformed" side] included some holding to "hypothetical universalism."

3) It is rightly observed that the early seventeenth-century debate on the subject too simplistically identified the parties in debate as either Arminian or Calvinist [in the sense of strict particularist Calvinists]. I would say that the same thing [the false either/or dilemma] is happening on a massive scale today.

4) It is noted that Davenant and Richard Baxter correctly referred to the variety of thought on the subject at the time of Dort and the Westminster Assembly.

5) Bucanus is considered Reformed and yet Muller says he "was no federalist."

6) Muller correctly notes that there is a "non-Amyraldian" form of universalism in the Reformed tradition, and that Preston's view can be considered as "a continuation of one trajectory of Reformed thought" that was "present from the early sixteenth century onward."

7) He concedes that Davenant rightly observed a form of univeralism in Heinrich Bullinger, and that Zacharias Ursinus, Wolfgang Musculus and Jerome Zanchi were also universalists.

8) The Canons of Dort did not canonize either the universal view or the particularist doctrine. George Carleton, John Davenant, Samuel Ward, Thomas Goad, Joseph Hall, Mathaias Martinius, Ludwig Crocius and Johann Alsted could all sign it in good conscience.

9) Even the Amyraldians were able to argue that their teaching did not run contrary to the Canons.

10) It is not appropriate to deem either non-Amyraldian universalism or the Amyraldian view as new in the decades after Dort or as a softening of the Reformed tradition.

11) The views of Davenant, Ussher and Preston were following out "a resident trajectory long recognized as orthodox among the Reformed." Muller sees them as representative of one of many streams of theology in the Reformed tradition.

September 10, 2008

More from W. G. T. Shedd (1820–1894) on the Universal Gospel Offer

The question arises, If the atonement of Christ is not intended to be universally applied, why should it be universally offered?

The gospel offer is to be made to every man because:

1. It is the divine command. Matt. 16:5. God has forbidden his ministers to except any man, in the offer.

2. No offer of the atonement is possible, but a universal offer. In order to be offered at all, Christ's sacrifice must be offered indiscriminately. A limited offer of the atonement to the elect only, would require a revelation from God informing the preacher who they are. As there is no such revelation, and the herald is in ignorance on this point, he cannot offer the gospel to some and refuse it to others. In this state of things there is no alternative but to preach Christ to everybody, or to nobody.

3. The atonement is sufficient in value to expiate the sin of all men indiscriminately; and this fact should be stated because it is a fact. There are no claims of justice not yet satisfied; there is no sin of man for which an infinite atonement has not been provided. "All things are now ready." Therefore the call to "come" is universal. It is plain, that the offer of the atonement should be regulated by its intrinsic nature and sufficiency, not by the obstacles that prevent its efficacy. The extent to which a medicine is offered is not limited by the number of persons favorably disposed to buy it and use it. Its adaptation to disease is the sole consideration in selling it, and consequently it is offered to everybody.

4. God opposes no obstacle to the efficacy of the atonement, in the instance of the non-elect. (a) He exerts no direct efficiency to prevent the non-elect from trusting in the atonement. The decree of reprobation is permissive. God leaves the non-elect to do as he likes. (b) There is no compulsion from the external circumstances in which the providence of God has placed the non-elect. On the contrary, the outward circumstances, especially in Christendom, favor instead of hindering trust in Christ's atonement. And so, in a less degree, do the outward circumstances in Heathendom. "The goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering of God [tend to] lead to repentance," Rom. 2:4; Acts 14:17; 17:26–30. (c) The special grace which God bestows upon the elect does not prevent the non-elect from believing; neither does it render faith any more difficult for him. The non-elect receives common grace, and common grace would incline the human will if it were not defeated by the human will. If the sinner should make no hostile opposition, common grace would be equivalent to saving grace. Acts 7:51, "Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost." 2 Tim. 3:8, "As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also withstand the truth." See Howe's remarks on common grace. Oracles, II. ii.

5. The atonement of Christ is to be offered indiscriminately, because God desires that every man would believe in it. "God," says Turrettin (IV.xvii.33), "delights in the conversion and eternal life of the sinner, as a thing pleasing in itself, and congruous with his infinitely compassionate nature, and therefore demands from man as a duty due from him (tanquam officium debitum) to turn if he would live." Substitute in this passage "faith and repentance " for "conversion and eternal life," and it is equally true. It is the divine delight in faith and repentance, and the divine desire for its exercise, that warrants the offer of the benefits of Christ's atonement to the non-elect. Plainly, the offer of the atonement ought to be regulated by the divine desire, and not by the aversion of the non-elect. God in offering his own atonement should be guided by his own feeling, and not by that of sinful man. Because the non-elect does not take delight in faith and repentance is surely no reason why God, who does take delight in it, should be debarred from saying to him, "Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?" May not God express his sincere feeling and desire to any except those who are in sympathy with him, and have the same species of feeling? If a man has a kind and compassionate nature, it is uureasonable to require that he suppress its promptings in case he sees a proud and surly person who is unwilling to accept a gift. The benevolent nature is unlimited in its desire. It wishes well-being to everybody, and hence its offers are universal. They may be made to a churlish and ill-natured man and be rejected, but they are good and kind offers nevertheless, and they are none the less sincere, though they accomplish nothing.

The universal offer of the benefits of Christ's atonement springs out of God's will of complacency. Ezek. 33:11, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his evil way and live." God may properly call upon the non-elect to do a thing that God delights in, simply because he does delight in it. The divine desire is not altered by the divine decree of preterition. Though God decides not to overcome by special grace the obstinate aversion which resists common grace, yet his delight in faith and repentance remains the same. His desire for the sinner's faith and repentance is not diminished in the least by the resistance which it meets from the non-elect, nor by the fact that for reasons sufficient he does not decide to overcome this resistance.

6. It is the non-elect himself, not God, who prevents the efficacy of the atonement. For the real reason of the inefficacy of Christ's blood is impenitence and unbelief . Consequently the author of impenitence and unbelief is the author of limited redemption. God is not the cause of a sinner's impenitence and unbelief, merely because he does not overcome his impenitence and unbelief. If a man flings himself into the water and drowns, a spectator upon the bank cannot be called the cause of that man's death. Non-prevention is not causation. The efficient and responsible cause of the suicide is the suicide's free will. In like manner, the non-elect himself, by his impenitence and unbelief, is the responsible cause of the inefficacy of Christ's expiation. God is blameless in respect to the limitation of redemption; man is guilty in respect to it. God is only the indirect and occasional cause of it; man is the immediate and efficient cause of it. This being the state of the case, there is nothing self-contradictory in the universal offer of the atonement upon the part of God. If either of the following suppositions were true, it would be fatal to the universal offer: (a) If at the time of offering Christ's atonement God was actively preventing the non-elect from believing, the offer would be inconsistent. (b) If at the time of offering it God were working upon the will of the non-elect to strengthen his aversion to the atonement, the offer would be inconsistent. (c) If God were the efficient author of that apostasy and sinfulness which enslaves the human will and renders it unable to believe in Christ without special grace, then the offer of the atonement unaccompanied with the offer of special grace would be inconsistent. But none of these suppositions are true.

7. The offer of the atonement is universal, because, when God calls upon men universally to believe, he does not call upon them to believe that they are elected, or that Christ died for them in particular. He calls upon them to believe that Christ died for sin, for sinners, for the world; that there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved; that the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin; and that there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. The atonement is not offered to an individual either as an elect man, or as a non-elect man; but as a man, and a sinner, simply. Men are commanded to believe in the sufficiency of the atonement, not in its predestinated application to themselves as individuals. The belief that Christ died for the individual himself is the assurance of faith, and is more than saving faith. It is the end, not the beginning of the process of salvation. God does not demand assurance of faith as the first act of faith. "Assurance of grace and salvation not being of the essence of faith, true believers may wait long before they obtain it." L. C. 81. "In whom, after ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise," Eph. 1:13.

8. The atonement is to be offered to all, because the preacher is to hope and expect from God the best and not the worst for every man. He is consequently to expect the election of his hearer, rather than his reprobation. The fact of the external call favors election, not reprobation. The external call embraces the following particulars: (a) Hearing the word. (b) Religious education by parents and friends. (c) Common grace, experienced in conviction of sin, fear of death and judgment, general anxiety, and dissatisfaction with this life. Upon such grounds as these, the individual is to be encouraged to believe that God's purpose is to elect him rather than to reprobate him. If a person fears that he is of the non-elect, he should be assured rather that he is mistaken in this fear than that he is correct in it; because God has done more for him that tends to his salvation than to his perdition.

9. The atonement is to be offered to all men, because even those who shall prove in the day of judgment to be non-elect do yet receive benefits and blessings from it. Turretin, (XVI.xiv.11) mentions the following benefits: (a) The preaching of the gospel, whereby paganism with its idolatry, superstition, and wretchedness is abolished. (b) The extremes of human depravity are restrained, (c) Many temporal blessings and gifts of providence are bestowed. Rom. 2:4; Acts 14:17. (d) Punishment is postponed and delayed. Acts 17:30; Rom. 3:25. "The grace of the Redeemer," says Bates (Eternal Judgment), "is so far universal, that upon his account the indulgent providence of God invited the heathen to repentance. His renewed benefits that sweetened their lives, Rom. 2:4, and his powerful patience in forbearing so long to cut them off, when their impurities were so provoking, was a testimony of his inclination to clemency upon their reformation, Acts 14:17. And for their abusing his favors, and resisting the methods of his goodness, they will be inexcusable to themselves, and their condemnation righteous to their own conscience.", II.

The reasons for the universal offer of the atonement, thus far, have had reference to God's relation to the offer. They go to show that the act upon his part is neither self-contradictory, nor insincere. But there is another class of reasons that have reference to man's relation to the offer. And these we now proceed to mention.

1. The atonement is to be offered to every man, because it is the duty of every man to trust in it. The atonement is in this particular like the decalogue. The moral law is to be preached to every man, because it is every man's duty to obey it. The question whether every man will obey it has nothing to do with the universal proclamation of the law. It is a fact that the law will have been preached in vain to many persons, but this is no reason why it should not have been preached to them. They were under obligation to obey it, and this justified its proclamation to them. Still more than this, the moral law should be preached to every man even though no man is able to keep it perfectly in his own strength. The slavery of the human will to sin is no reason why the primary and original duty which the human will owes to God should not be stated and enjoined, because this slavery has been produced by man, not by God. In like manner faith in Christ's atonement should be required as a duty from every man, notwithstanding the fact that "no man can come unto Christ except the Father draw him," John 6:44; that "faith is not of ourselves, but is the gift of God," Eph. 2:8; and that Christ is "the author and finisher of faith," Heb. 12:2. Man's inability, without the grace of God, to penitently trust in Christ's atonement, being self-caused like his inability to perfectly keep the moral law without the same grace, still leaves his duty in the case binding upon him. The purpose of God to bestow grace is not the measure of man's duty. Neither is the power that man has as fallen the measure of man's duty. Only the power that man had as unfallen, and by creation, is the measure of it.

2. The offer of Christ's atonement for sin should be universal, because it is the most impressive mode of preaching the law. In exhibiting the nature of Christ's sacrifice, and its sufficiency to atone for all sin, and especially in showing the necessity of it in order to the remission of any sin whatever, the spirituality and extent of the divine law are presented more powerfully than they can be in any other manner. The offer of the atonement is consequently a direct means of producing a sense of guilt and condemnation, without which faith in Christ is impossible.

3. The offer of the atonement to an unbeliever is adapted to disclose the aversion and obstinacy of his own will. This method of forgiving sin displeases him. It is humbling. If he were invited to make a personal atonement, this would fall in with his inclination. But to do no atoning work at all, and simply to trust in the atoning work of another, is the most unwelcome act that human pride can be summoned to perform. Belief in vicarious atonement is distasteful and repulsive to the natural man, because he is a proud man. When, therefore, a man is informed that there is no forgiveness of sin but through Christ's atonement, that this atonement is ample for the forgiveness of every man, and that nothing but unbelief will prevent any man's forgiveness, his attention is immediately directed to his own disinclination to trust in this atonement, and aversion to this method of forgiveness. But this experience is highly useful. It causes him to know his helplessness, even in respect to so fundamental an act as faith. The consequence is, that he betakes himself to God in prayer that he may be inclined and enabled to believe. Larger Catechism, 59, 67.
W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1888), 2:482–489.

Also in W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 3rd ed., edited by Alan W. Gomes (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2003), 750–754.

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September 8, 2008

John Quick (1636–1706) on the Synod of Alançon

I have taken the liberty to modernize some of the language and spelling.

Article 12.

The Determination and Decision of that Affair concerning the Doctrine and Writings of the Sieurs Amyraud and Testard, Pastors, and Professor of Divinity in the University of Saumur.

The Sieurs Testard Pastor of the Church of Blois, and Amyraud Pastor and Professor of Theology in the Church and University of Saumur, came in Person unto this Synod, and declared, That they understood from common Fame, how that both at home and abroad, and by the Consultations and Proceedings of sundry Provinces, as also from divers Books written against them and their printed Labours, they were blamed for that Doctrine

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which they had published to the World; that therefore at the first opening of the Synod they presented themselves before it, not knowing but that their Cause might be debated whenas the Confession of Faith came to be read, and that they appeared to give an account of it, and such Explanations of their Doctrine, as the most Reverend Synod should judge needful; and to submit themselves unto its Judgment, and consequently to demand its Protection for the support of their Innocence, hoping that this Favour would not be denied them; because they were fully persuaded in their Consciences, that they had never taught, either by Word or Writing, any Doctrine repugnant to the Word of God, to our Confession of Faith, Catechism, Liturgy, or Canons of the National Synods of Alez and Charenton, which had ratified those of Dort, and which they had signed with their Hands, and were ready to seal even with their Heart-Blood.

13. And the Sieur de la Place, Pastor and Professor in the Church and University of Saumur, reported also from the said University, That he was charged by it to render an account of the Grounds and Reasons which induced him to approve and license the Works and Writings of the Monsieur Amyraud, which he did, according to the Priviledge granted by the discipline unto our Universities. Moreover, the Sieur Ouzan, Elder in the said Church of Saumur, being admitted into the Synod, declared that the said Church understanding that Monsieur Amyraud, one of its Pastors, was brought into trouble for his Doctrine, though both by it, and his most exemplary and godly Conversation, they had been always exceedingly edified, had given him an express Charge to testify unto it before this grave Assembly, and most humbly to commend unto their Reverences the Innocency and Honour of his Ministry.

14. There were also tendered unto the Lord Commissioner the Letters, but not opened, which were sent unto the Synod from the Churches and Universities of Geneva and Leyden, and from the Sieurs du Moulin Pastor and Professor in Theology at Sedan, and Rivet Pastor and Professor at Leyden, together with the Treatises composed by them, and the collationed Copies of the Approbations given by the Doctors in the Faculty of Theology at Leyden, Franequer and Groningen, unto the Treatise of the said Professor Rivet: Which Letters being opened by the Lord Commissioner, and their Contents perused by him, he allowed the reading of them unto the Assembly. The Assembly did likewise read the Letters writ by Monsieur Vignier Pastor in the Church of Blois, and by Monsieur le Faucheur Pastor in the Church of Paris, in which they offer their Sentiments for reconciling the Controversies arisen about the Writings of the said Testard and Amyraud, and their Opponents.

15. Moreover, the Apologetical Letters of the Sieurs Vignier and Garnier, Pastors of the Churches of Blois and Marchenoir, were read, who informed the Synod, that by virtue of a Commission given them by the Province of Berry to examine the Theological Writings which might be composed either by the Pastors or others of their Province, they had given their Attestation and Approbation to the Book of the said Monsieur Testard, and had given an account of this their Judgment unto the Provincial Synod assembled in the Year 1634; and the Extracts of those their Writings were produced.

16. Those Papers having been all read, and the aforesaid Sieurs Testard and Amyraud having been divers times heard, and the Assembly having in a very long Debate considered the Difficulties of those Questions raised by them, did constitute the Sieurs Commare Pastor in the Church of Vertueil, Chaples, Pastor in the Church of Montauban, de L' angle Pastor in the Church

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of Roan, Petit Pastor and Professor in the Church and University of Nismes, le Blanc Pastor and Professor in the University of Die, de Bons Pastor in the Church of Chaalons upon Saone, and Dalle Pastor in the Church of Paris, a Committee to digest and reduce into Order the Explications which had been given, or might hereafter be given by the before-mentioned Testard and Amyraud, and that they should accordingly as soon as it was finished bring in their Report.

17. And the said Committee having discharged their Trust, and made their Report unto the Synod, the before-mentioned Mr. Testard and Amyraud were again introduced, and did with the deepest Seriousness protest before God, that it was never in their Thoughts to propound or teach any Doctrine whatever, but what was agreeable to the known and common Expositions of our Creed, and contained in our Confession of Faith, and in the Decisions of the National Synod held at Charenton, in the Year 1623; all which they were ready to sign with their best Blood.

18. And pursuant hereunto, explaining their Opinions about the Universality of Christ's Death, they declared, That Jesus Christ died for all Men sufficiently, but for the Elect only effectually: and that consequentially his Intention was to die for all Men in respect of the Sufficiency of his Satisfaction, but for the Elect only in respect of its quickening and Saving Virtue and Efficacy; which is to say, that Christ's Will was that the Sacrifice of his Cross should be of an infinite Price and Value, and most abundantly sufficient to expiate the Sins of the whole World; yet nevertheless the Efficacy of his Death appertains only unto the Elect; so that those who are called by the Preaching of the Gospel, to participate by Faith in the Effects and Fruits of his Death, being invited seriously, and God vouchsafing them all external Means needful for their coming to him, and showing them in good earnest, and with the greatest Sincerity by his Word, what would be well-pleasing to him, if they should not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, but perish in their Obstinancy and Unbelief; this cometh not from any Defect of Virtue or Sufficiency in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, nor yet for want of Summons or serious Invitations unto Faith or Repentance, but only from their own Fault. And as for those who do receive the Doctrine of the Gospel with Obedience of Faith, they are according to the irrevocable Promise of God, made Partakers of the effectual Virtue and Fruit of Christ Jesus's Death; for this was the most free Counsel and gracious Purpose both of God the Father, in giving his Son for the Salvation of Mankind, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, in suffering the Pains of Death, that the Efficacy thereof should particularly belong unto all the Elect, and to them only, to give them justifying Faith, and by it to bring them infallibly unto Salvation, and thus effectually to redeem all those and none other, who were from all Eternity from among all People, Nations and Tongues, chosen unto Salvation. Whereupon, although the Assembly were well satisfied, yet nevertheless they decreed, that for the future, that Phrase of Jesus Christ's dying equally for all, should be forborn, because that term equally was formerly, and might be so again, an Occasion of stumbling unto many.

19. And as for the Conditional Decree, of which mention is made in the aforesaid Treatise of Predestination, the said Sieurs Testard and Amyraud declared, that they do not, nor ever did understand any other thing, than God's Will revealed in his Word, to give Grace and Life unto Believers; and that they called this in none other Sense a Conditional Will than that of Anthropopeia, because God promises not the Effects thereof, but upon condition of Faith and Repentance. And they added farther, That although the Propositions resulting from the Manifestation of

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this will be conditional, and conceived under an if, or it may be; as, if thou believest thou shalt be saved; if a Man repent of his Sins, they shall be forgiven him; yet nevertheless this doth not suppose in God an Ignorance of the Event, not an Impotency as to the Execution, nor any Inconstancy as to his Will, which is always firmly accomplished, and ever unchangeable in itself, according to the Nature of God, in which there is no Variableness nor Shadow of turning.

20. And the said Sieur Amyraud did particularly protest, as he had formerly published unto the World, that he never gave the Name of Universal or Conditional Predestination unto this Will of God than by way of Concession, and accomodating it unto the Language of the Adversary: Yet forasmuch as many are offended at this Expression of his, he offered freely to raze it out of those places, where ever it did occur, promising also to abstain from it for the future: and both he and the Sieur Testard acknowledged, that to speak truly and accurately according to the Usage of sacred Scripture, there is none other Decree of Predestination of Men unto eternal Life and Salvation, than the unchangeable Purpose of God, by which according to the most free and good Pleasure of his Will, he hath out of mere Grace chosen in Jesus Christ unto Salvation before the Foundation of the World, a certain number of Men in themselves neither better nor more worthy than others, and that he hath decreed to give them unto Jesus Christ to be saved, and that he would call and draw them effectually to Communion with him by his Word and Spirit. And they did, in consequence of this Holy Doctrine, reject their Error, who held that Faith, and the Obedience of Faith, Holiness, Godliness and Perseverance, are not the Fruits and Effects of this unchangeable Decree unto Glory, but Conditions and Causes, without which Election could not be passed; which Conditions or Causes are antecedently requisite, and foreseen as if they were already accomplished in those who were fit to be elected, contrary to what is taught us by the sacred Scriptures, Acts 13.48. and elsewhere.

21. And whereas they have made distinct Decrees in this Counsel of God, the first of which is to save all men through Jesus Christ, if they shall believe in him; the second to give Faith unto some particular Persons: they declared, that they did this upon none other account, than of accommodating it unto that Manner and Order, which the Spirit of Man observeth in his Reasonings for the Succour of his own Infirmity; they otherwise believing, that though they considered this Decree as diverse, yet it was formed in God in one and the self-same Moment, without any Succession of Thought, or Order of Priority and Posteriority. The Will of this most supreme and incomprehensible Lord, being but one only eternal Act in him; so that could we but conceive of things as they be in him from all Eternity, we should comprehend these Decrees of God by one only Act of our Understanding, as in Truth they be but one only Act of his eternal and unchangeable Will.

22. The Synod having heard these Declarations from the Sieurs Testard and Amyraud, it injoined them and all others to refrain from those terms of conditional, frustratory, or revocable Decree; and that they should rather choose the Word Will, whereby to express that Sentiment of theirs, and by which they would signify the revealed Will of God, commonly called by the Divines Voluntas Signe.

23. And whereas in sundry Places marked in the Writings of the before-mentioned Monsieur Testard and Amyraud, they have ascribed unto God, as it were, a Notion of Velleity, and strong Affections, and vehement Desires of Things which he hath not, nor never will effectuate; they having declared, that by those figurative Ways of speaking, and anthropopathical,

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they designed, to speak properly, none other thing than this, that if Men were obedient to the Commandments and Invitations of God, their Faith and Obedience would be most acceptable unto him, according as was before expressed by them. The Assembly hearing this their Explication, did injoin them to use such Expressions as these, with that Sobriety and Prudence, that they might not give the least Occasion of Offence unto any Person, nor cause them to conceive of God in any way unsuitable to his glorious Nature.

24. Monsieur Testard and Amyraud declared farther, that although the Doctrines obvious to us in the Works of Creation and Providence, do teach and preach Repentance, and invite us to seek the Lord, who would be found of us; yet nevertheless, by reason of the horrible Blindness of our Nature, and its universal Corruption, no Man was ever this way converted; yea, and it is utterly impossible that any one should be converted but by the hearing of the Word of God, which is the Seed of our Regeneration, and the Instrument of the Holy Ghost, whose Efficacy and Virtue only is able to illuminate our Understandings, and to change the Hearts and Affections of the Children of Men.

25. And forasmuch as the Word of God hath always revealed the Knowledge of the Lord our Redeemer, the said Sieurs did farther protest, that no one Man was ever, nor can be saved, without some certain Measure of this Knowledge, less indeed under the old Testament, but greater under the New, the Death and Resurrection of the Son of God being most plainly and distinctly manifested in the Gospel; and they hold it as an undoubted Truth, that now under the New Covenant, the distinct Knowledge of Christ is absolutely necessary for all Persons who are come unto Years of Discretion in order to their obtaining of eternal Salvation: And they do from their very Heart anathamatize all those who believe or teach that Man may be saved any other way than by the Merit of our Lord Jesus Christ, or in any other Religion besides the Christian.

26. And whereas divers Persons were much offended at the Professor Amyraud for calling that Knowledge of God, which Men might gain from the Consideration of his Works and Providence (unless their Corruption were extreme) by the Name of Faith: The said Professor declared, that he did it, because he reckoned that the Persuasion which some have, that there is a God, and that he is a Rewarder, may bear that Name; he owning however that St. Paul did simply and plainly stile it the Knowledge of God, 1 Cor. 1.21. The Assembly injoined him not to give the Name of Faith to any other Knowledge of God, but unto that which is ingendred in us by the Holy Ghost, and by the Preaching of his Word, according as the Scripture uses it, whether thereby to point out unto us the Faith of God's ancient Saints, or this which is now under the New Testament, and necessarily accompanied with a distinct Knowledge of Christ.

27. And as for Man's natural Impotency, either to believe, or to desire and do the things that belong to Salvation; both the said Sieurs Amyraud and Testard protested, that Man had none other Power than that of the Holy Spirit of God, which is only able to heal him, by an interior illuminating of his Understanding, and bending of his Will by that gracious, invincible and uneffable Operation, which he only exerts upon the Hearts of those Vessels of Grace which are elect of God.

28. They did farther declare, that this Impotency was in us from our Birth, for which Cause it may be called natural; and they have called it physical or natural, nor ever did refuse so doing, unless when they would signify that it is voluntary, and conjoined with Malice and Obstinacy;

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whenas Man despiseth and rejecteth the Invitations of God, which he would receive and imbrace, provided his Heart were well and fittingly disposed within itself.

29. And Monsieur Testard added particularly, that this doth not in the least derogate from what he had asserted concerning two Callings, the one real, and the other verbal, given by God unto Men, whereby they may be saved if they will, sith that he intended thereby to signify nothing else, but that their Impotency to convert themselves was not of the same kind with that of a Man, who having lost his Eyes or Legs, was willing with all his Heart to see and walk, but that this Impotency sprung from the Malice of the Heart itself. The Assembly having heard him thus express himself, injoined him to abstain from these terms; and not to use them unless with very much Prudence and Discretion, and to join with them such needful Glosses and Explications, as thereby it may appear, that Man is so depraved by Nature, that he cannot of himself will any Good without the special Grace of God, which may produce in us by his Holy Spirit both to will and to do according to his good Pleasure.

30. And those afore-mentioned Minister and Professor, Testard and Amyraud, having acquiesced in all, as above declared, and having sworn and subscribed to it, the Assembly gave them the right Hand of Fellowship by the Hand of their Moderator, and they were honourably dismissed to the Exercise of their respective Charges.
John Quick, Synodicon in Gallia Reformata (London: Printed for T. Parkhurst and J. Robinson, 1692), 2:352–357.

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