March 18, 2010

Timothy Manlove (1633-1699) on Special and Common Grace

"7. Consider what great encouragement ye have humbly to expect the assistance of special grace, if ye carefully improve the Abilities and Helps that are already granted you. It's likely that Satan and your own corrupt Hearts may suggest to you, that it is to no purpose to trouble your Thoughts about these things, because special Grace is the Gift of God, who doth with his own as he pleaseth. But to this I answer; Tho tis true that Grace is a free Gift, else it were not Grace: Yet it doth not therefore follow that ye must sit still in a sluggish Stupidity, and expect to be saved without any care or concern of your own about it. Are not the Mercies of common Providence, as Food, Raiment, Friends, Health, &c. the Gifts of God? Will ye therefore argue that no care is to be taken about these things? How then comes it to pass that your Thoughts and Endeavours are employed early and late in the World, and for it? It seems ye are most willing to be imposed upon, and to have a Cloak for your Sloth in spiritual Matters; tho ye would laugh at him who should argue at the same rate as to temporal Concerns.

Therefore, to be plain with you, I must tell you; ye have no reason to expect the help of special Grace, while through mere Sloth and Perverseness ye will not excite your natural Faculties, nor strike in with Convictions and other Helps of common Grace which are vouchsafed you. But rather ye may justly fear, lest ye should be given up to a reprobate Sense, to blindness of Mind, and hardness of Heart. For the turning away of the Simple shall slay them, Prov. 1:32."
Timothy Manlove, Præparatio Evangelica: Or, A Plain and Practical Discourse Concerning the Soul's Preparation for a Blessed Eternity (London: Printed for Nevill Simmons, Bookseller in Sheffield, Yorkshire: And sold by George Coniers, at the Rink in Little Britain, 1698), 126.


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