March 29, 2009

Puritan Portraits

Don Kistler has a neat selection of Puritan Portraits (see the sidebar) on his website. There's actually a guy there named Praise-God Barebones! He even looks miserable in his portrait.

George Swinnock (1627–1673) on God's Special and General Love

First, I commend you to his special favour and affection. The good-will of God is such a lump of sugar as will sweeten the bitterest cup; it hath a virtue in it which will turn the smallest liquor into cordial water. The little bird in her small down nest sings pleasantly, when the great birds in their large thorny nests have but harsh voices. The saint in the soft bed of God's special love sleepeth comfortably, when the wicked in their high places, great preferments, for want of this are in little ease. His general love is like the ordinary beams of the sun, which convey light and heat for the refreshment of all the world. So the Lord is good to all; his mercy is over all his works; but his special love is like the beams of the sun united in a glass, which, passing by others, fires the object only. God's love to his new creatures in Christ is burning love; he hath choice good, and good-will too, for his chosen ones: 'Let me se the good of his chosen. Look upon me and be merciful to me, as thou art to them that fear thy name.' It is said of Socrates, he prized the king's countenance above his coin.
George Swinnock, "The Pastor's Farewell," in The Works of George Swinnock (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1992), 4:81–82.

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Observe: Not only does Swinnock believe that God loves all men generally, but he sees a link between God's "general love," favour, goodness and mercy. He associates God's general love with the teaching of Psalm 145:9. There isn't the absurd notion in Swinnock (or in the other Puritans) that God is merciful, kind, good and favourable to all, but He doesn't love all. That strange division exists in the writings of a few men in the blogosphere today, but not in Swinnock, or in other orthodox historic Calvinists.

March 28, 2009

Richard Muller's Mid-America Lectures

Dr. Richard Muller, the P.J. Zondervan Professor of Historical Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan delivered this year's annual Fall Lecture Series [at Mid-America Reformed Seminary] on November 5-6. Dr. Muller's lectures are entitled Revising the Predestination Paradigm: An Alternative to Supralapsarianism, Infralapsarianism and Hypothetical Universalism. Dr. Muller delivered three lectures on this subject. The first lecture, entitled The Problem Stated, was given Wednesday, November 5 at 1:00 pm. Thursday morning (November 6) at 8:30 am Dr. Muller delivered his second lecture entitled The Lapsarian Question. His final lecture, entitled Varieties of Hypothetical Universalism, followed at 10:30 am.
The CD of these lectures cost me $15 (this included shipping). Click HERE for contact information. I have already listened to his lecture on Varieties of Hypothetical Universalism, and it's quite good, as we should expect. The audio quality sounds like someone close in the audience recorded it using an mp3 recorder, so it is of medium quality, unfortunately.

He, in these lectures, considers the following to be "hypothetical universalists" of the non-Amyraldian variety:

W. Musculus, J. Zanchi, Z. Ursinus, J. Kimedoncius, H. Bullinger, W. Twisse, J. Ussher, J. Davenant (and others in the British delegation to Dort), E. Calamy, L. Seaman, R. Vines, R. Harris, S. Marshall, J. Arrowsmith, J. Bunyan, and others.

Lawrence Proctor on Amyraut’s “Equally for All”

78. In this way, Amyraut could say that Christ died equally for all. In the statement that Christ died pro omnibus equiliter (explained Daillé, Apologiae ii 632), the theologians of Saumur meant the adverb to signify that there is none for whom Christ did not die; it does not mean that all are equal in affection or will of God in giving Christ to die. Cf. Drost, Specimen 25: Amyraut and Testard explained the death of Christ for all equally in terms of sufficiency . . . . Amyraut explained the two uses of the adverb in De Grat (Gen) 223.
Lawrence Proctor, The Theology of Moïse Amyraut Considered as a Reaction Against Seventeenth-Century Calvinism (PhD diss., University of Leeds, 1952), 376n78.

In addition to other things, I am currently working through Proctor's thesis (Dr. Curt Daniel sent me a copy). I wish I knew Latin and French. In the near future, I will work through Van Stam's thesis on Amyraut as well, and blog any interesting discoveries.

March 26, 2009

Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) on Common Grace and God's Strivings

"The second effect of common grace is that the Holy Spirit strives with men and women. Take that statement in Genesis 6:3: 'My spirit shall not always strive with man.' It does not exhaust the meaning of those words, but it does, at any rate, mean that a time was coming when instead of keeping men and women alive, in spite of their sin, God would stop and the flood would come and they would all be destroyed. The striving, in other words, has two meanings. It means 'keeping in existence, keeping going', and it also means that God was there, as it were, pleading through His Spirit, trying to get men and women to see the enormity of their sins and of their actions before it was too late. You find the same idea in Stephen's sermon recorded in the seventh chapter of Acts. He says, 'Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost' (Acts 7:51). The Holy Ghost is there, with this general work of conviction, but people resist it instead of yielding to it."
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Great Doctrines of the Bible (Wheaton, Ill: Good News Publishers, 2003), 2:27.

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Again, as with Edwards, notice Lloyd-Jones' inseparable connection between common grace and God's saving will.

March 23, 2009

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) on Common Grace and God's Willingness to Save

I am posting these quotes to show the Edwardsian connection between God's universal saving will and common grace/providence. Some contemporary "Calvinists" say they believe in one (common grace) without the other (God's universal desire to save), but that division represents a departure from historic Calvinism. Such a false dichotomy is really indicative of Gillite hyper-Calvinism, and not orthodox Calvinism. The following quotes by Edwards are in harmony with the Puritans and classic Calvinists, as the primary source documentation on my blog shows.
[Prop.] I. God oftentimes uses many means with wicked men to bring 'em to forsake their sins. This is what God declares in his Word, that he hath no pleasure in death of a sinner, but that he should forsake his sins, and live. Ezekiel 18:23, "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?" And again in the Ezekiel 18:32, "For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." And Ezekiel 33:11, there God swears the same thing: "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, Ye house of Israel?" Surely it would be horrid presumption in us to call this in question, after God has sworn by his life to the truth of it. The same we are told in the New Testament by the Apostle. 1 Timothy 2:3-4, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth." 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." And therefore God appears in his providence slow to wrath, and is wont to use many means with sinners to bring them to forsake their sins, before he gives them up. Thus God's Spirit strove long with the old world, before he destroyed them. Genesis 6:3, "My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." For God sent Lot, a preacher of righteousness, to turn the inhabitants of Sodom from their sins, before he destroyed them. So he did not destroy hardhearted Pharaoh, till he had used many means to make him willing to comply with God's commands.
Jonathan Edwards [1734], Sermons and Discourses, 1734–1738 (WJE Online Vol. 19), Ed. M. X. Lesser.
I am convinced that God is willing to be reconciled to man, and has a design to advance him to the happiness he was created for, by the tokens of his good will in the creation and common providence; and that he therefore would give us those advantages, which are necessary to a holy life and salvation. And I am convinced of the necessity of a revelation, by considering how negligent, dull and careless I should be, if there were no revelation about a future happiness but I was left to work it out by unassisted reason; especially if there were no revelation at all about what is pleasing to God, how he accepts it, after what manner he loves his servants, how he will pardon sin, etc.
Jonathan Edwards [1722], The "Miscellanies": (Entry Nos. a–z, aa–zz, 1–500) (WJE Online Vol. 13), Ed. Harry S. Stout.
As reason tells us that man is in a fallen state, so it also telleth us that God is willing to be reconciled to him again; the continual bounty of God to him evidences it. There is manifestly much contrivance for man's good, subsistence and comfort in the world; yea, 'tis evident that infinite wisdom and power are continually exercised for us. Now what in the world could be meant by all this, if God had irrevocably set himself against man, and had finally withdrawn all his favor from him, and had irreversibly sentenced him to eternal misery? Why then so much wisdom and power continually exercised for his good, and why has it been so, for thousands of years? God hath not left himself without witness in natural reason, in that he does us good, and gives us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
Jonathan Edwards [1722], The "Miscellanies": (Entry Nos. a–z, aa–zz, 1–500) (WJE Online Vol. 13), Ed. Harry S. Stout.
2. God's common providence towards mankind teaches us that God is inclined to mercy and is willing to be reconciled, that he is not implacable…. By these things, it plainly appears that God hasn't utterly forsaken the world of mankind as to any favor or merciful regards. This was the witness which God gave all mankind, and even the heathen, that had direct revelation of his disposition to a reconciliation. Acts 14:16–17, "Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."
Jonathan Edwards [1723], Sermons and Discourses: 1723–1729 (WJE Online Vol. 14), Ed. Kenneth P. Minkerma.

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March 19, 2009

More from Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) on Redemption

UNIVERSAL REDEMPTION. In some sense, redemption is universal of all mankind: all mankind now have an opportunity to be saved otherwise than they would have had if Christ had not died. A door of mercy is in some sort opened for them. This is one benefit actually consequent on Christ's death; but the benefits that are actually consequent on Christ's death and are obtained by Christ's death, doubtless Christ intended to obtain by his death. It was one thing he aimed at by his death; or which is the same thing, he died to obtain it, as it was one end of his death.
Jonathan Edwards [1743], Documents on the Trinity, Grace and Faith (WJE Online Vol. 37), Ed. Jonathan Edwards Center. Jonathan Edwards [1743], “Book of Minutes on the Arminian Controversy” Gazeteer Notebook, in Works of Jonathan Edwards Online, Volume 37, Documents on the Trinity, Grace and Faith (Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University, 2008), 10–11.
Christ's incarnation, his labors and sufferings, his resurrection, etc., were for the salvation of such as are not elected, in Scripture language, in the same sense as the means of grace are for their salvation; in the same sense as the instruction, counsels, warnings and invitations that are given them, are for their salvation.
Jonathan Edwards [1743], "Controversies" Notebook (WJE Online Vol. 27) , Ed. Jonathan Edwards Center. Jonathan Edwards [1743], Works of Jonathan Edwards Online, Volume 27, “Controversies” Notebook (Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University, 2008), part III.
424. UNIVERSAL REDEMPTION. Christ did die for all in this sense, that all by his death have an opportunity of being [saved]; and he had that design in dying, that they should have that opportunity by it. For it was certainly a thing that God designed, that all men should have such an opportunity, or else they would not have it; and they have it by the death of Christ.
Jonathan Edwards, “Miscellanies,” in Works of Jonathan Edwards Online, 73 vols., ed. H. S. Stout (Jonathan Edwards Center, Yale University, 2008), 13:478.

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March 17, 2009

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) on God Begging

"Now is the time. Now is a blessed opportunity to escape those everlasting burnings. Now God has again set open the same door, the same fountain, and gives one more happy opportunity for souls to escape. Now he has set open a wide door and he stands in the door way calling and begging with a loud voice to the sinners of Zion. Come, says he, to me. Come, fly from the wrath to come. Here is a refuge for you. Fly hither for refuge. Lay hold on the hope set before you."
Jonathan Edwards [1743], Sermons, Series II, July-December 1740 (WJE Online Vol. 56) , Ed. Jonathan Edwards Center. [Punctuation, spelling and other corrections/modifications are mine]

Also in Jonathan Edwards, "Sinners in Zion Tenderly Warned," in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, rev. Edward Hickman (Carlisle, Penn.: Banner of Truth Trust, 1992), 2:205 as follows:
"Now, now, then, is the time, now is the blessed opportunity to escape those everlasting burnings. Now God hath again set open the same fountain among us, and gives one more happy opportunity for souls to escape. Now he hath set open a wide door, and he stands in the door-way, calling and begging with a loud voice to the sinners of Zion: Come, saith he, come, fly from the wrath to come; here is a refuge for you; fly hither for refuge; lay hold on the hope set before you."
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Jonathan Edwards joins William Gurnall, Stephen Charnock, Thomas Manton, Andrew Gray, Ralph Venning, George Swinnock, John Shower, John Flavel, Samuel Rutherford, and many other Puritans in using this kind of language for God's revealed will. George Whitefield, Thomas Chalmers, Charles Spurgeon and John MacArthur have also used it.