October 18, 2009

William Prynne (1600–1669) on the Will of God

Thirdly, when God doeth offer Grace to men, he doth not immediately infuse his Grace into their hearts, but he works it in them by the use of means: now Reprobates, when as God tenders Grace unto them do alwayes slight, neglect, and vilifie the means by which he offers, and conveyes his Grace; so that if they misse of Grace, (as they alwayes doe:) they cannot lay the fault on God, or say, that he intended not to Convert them; but they must take the blame upon themselves alone; because if they had used the meanes with care, and Conscience as they ought, and done that which was requisite on their parts; God would have wrought effectually by his Spirit in their hearts, for ought they could tell, or thinke to the contrary.

Fourthly, when God doth seriously invite us to Repentance, and true saving Faith; he doth not alwayes peremptorily promise, much lesse resolve to worke this Faith, and Repentance in our hearts, (for then they should be alwayes wrought effectually in us, because Gods purposed, and resolved Will, is alwayes executed, and cannot be resisted:) but he doeth onely seriously declare, what things he doth approve, and require in us, and what course wee ourselves must take, if we will be saved: A King may seriously wish and desire, that such a Subject of his were a Rich, or Honourable person; and with all inform him of the way and meanes to purchase Wealth and Honor; but yet he may not purposely resolve to make him such a one; God doth earnestly wish, Command, and desire, that all men should repent, and turne unto him, and that none should offend, or sinne against him; but yet he hath not eternally purposed to cause them to repent, or to inable them to convert, and not to sinne: for most men goe on in sinne, without repentance: in many things we offend all; and there is no man that liveth; and sinneth not: God may desire something in his revealed Will, which he hath not decreed to effect in his secret Will: he desires not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should repent, and live; yet sinners alwayes die in sinne, without repentance: He desires, that all men should be saved, and that none should perish; yet we know, that few are saved and that most men perish: Since therefore God may command, desire, and require something in his revealed Will, which he hath not absolutely decreed to effect in his hidden Will; it followes not, that God doth therefore resolve to worke effectually by his Grace in Reprobates, when as he offers means of Grace unto them: and so he mocks them not.
William Prynne, God No Imposter Nor Deluder: Or, An Answer to a Popish and Arminian Cavill, in the Defence of Free-Will, and Universal Grace (Printed by Elizabeth Allde, 1629), 6–8.


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