July 31, 2009

Some Important Historical and Theological Distinctions in Theophilus Gale's (1628–1678) The Court of the Gentiles

But while we are thus characterising the Authors of this new Method, we must also do such Calvinists, who incline to them in some points, that justice, as to free them from all imputation or suspicion of Arminianism: It's well known, that some of great worth and truly orthodox in point of Grace, have yet somewhat inclined towards the new Method in point of universal objective Grace, as pious and learned Usher, Davenant, and others both in our and the French Churches, who hold, Christ's death to be an universal remedy applicable to all, but yet are far from asserting an universal subjective Grace, or any velleitie in God of saving all men, which Amyraldus and others assert. As for those who hold absolute and particular Election and Reprobation, Original sin in its full extent, mens natural impotence and being dead in sin, efficacious Grace in the conversion of sinners, with God's absolute, efficacious, immediate, total and predeterminative concurse to all natural as well as supernatural actions, as Davenant, and some others, who incline to an objective universal Grace, do, I have no controversy with them, but can own them as friends of Grace, albeit in some modes of explicating it, they differ from us.
Theophilus Gale, The Court of the Gentiles. Part IV. Of Reformed Philosophie. Book III. Of Divine Predetermination (London: Printed for John Hill at the Black Lyon in Fleet-street, and Samuel Tidmarsh at the Kings-Head in Cornhill, 1678), 150 (III.iv.150). Some spelling has been updated.


Observe the following points made by Gale above:

1) There are some Calvinists who have points that seem to incline them to Arminianism.
2) Gale wants to free them from all imputation or suspicion of Arminianism.
3) Examples of such "truly orthodox" Calvinists of "great worth" are James Ussher and John Davenant.
4) They view Christ's death to be an universal remedy applicable to all.
5) Gale distinguishes these men from the views of Amyraut.
6) These men hold to:
     a) absolute and particular election and reprobation,
     b) original sin,
     c) men's natural impotence,
     d) efficacious grace in conversion,
     e) and God's sovereignty over all things, both natural and supernatural.
7) Davenant, again, is an example of this position, and Gale not only has "no controversy" with them [although he has some differences with them], but owns them as "friends of grace."

The observations of this Puritan are also reflected in the recent scholarship of Dr. Richard Muller. Theophilus Gale's book The True Idea of Jansenism has a preface by John Owen.

Menzeis, a high Calvinist like Gale, said:
The [Popish] Pamphleter might have known that Protestants do not exclude from the Reformed Churches, the learned Camero, Amyrald, Capellus, Dallaeus who with many others especially in the French Church assert universal redemption.
John Menzeis, Roma Mendax (London: Printed for Abel Roper, at the sign of the Sun over against St. Dunstanes Church in Fleet-street, 1675), 190. Also in John Menzeis, The Church of England Vindicated against Her Chief Adversaries of the Church of Rome: Wherein the most Material Points are fairly Debated, and Briefly and Fully Answered (London: Printed for C. Wilkinson, T. Dring, and C. Harper, and are to be Sold at their Shops in Fleetstreet, 1680), 190.

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